A Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldier accused of coaxing and threatening teenage girls into sending him sexually explicit images of themselves pleaded not guilty Tuesday to 25 felonies.
David Ford, 24, was arrested Monday after returning from a deployment to Afghanistan. Pierce County Superior Court Commissioner Meagan Foley ordered Ford jailed in lieu of $500,000 bail, pending trial.
Foley also ordered Ford to stay away from minors and surrender his military weapons to his commanding officer should he make bail. He also would be restricted to post if released before trial.
Ford is charged with multiple counts each of communication with a minor for immoral purposes, possession of depictions of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct, second-degree extortion, sexual exploitation of a minor and viewing depictions of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct.
Prosecutors allege Ford contacted seven girls and offered them money and other gifts in exchange for nude photos. He allegedly threatened them and warned he would show other people the photos if they didn’t keep providing him with pictures.
Investigators began investigating Ford in April when a 15-year-old girl contacted the Washington State Patrol and reported that he had found her on Facebook and made sexual comments.
She told detectives Ford offered her concert tickets if she would pose nude for him over Skype, which she did 25 to 35 times over four months. In return, Ford allegedly sent her $1,000 in gifts, including a gift certificate to Victoria’s Secret and an iPhone.
Ford met all the girls but one on Facebook and arranged to meet two of them at South Hill Mall, where prosecutors said he took one of them to a friend’s house and tried to have sex with her.
Images of the victims were found on Ford’s computer, and one of the victims gave investigators a video of him masturbating, according to court documents. The girl reportedly took the video to try to prevent Ford from threatening to make the nude photos of her public if she stopped sending more of them to him.
Staff writer Adam Lynn contributed to this report.