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Ex-Maui officer pleads guilty to attempted child enticement

April 20, 2022 GMT
FILE - This undated photo provided by Maui Police Department shows former Maui police officer Brandon Saffeels. Saffeels has pleaded guilty in a federal case accusing him of offering money to have sex with a 13-year-old girl. U.S. prosecutors say Saffeels pleaded guilty on Tuesday, April 19, 2022, to attempted child enticement. (Maui Police Department via AP, File)
FILE - This undated photo provided by Maui Police Department shows former Maui police officer Brandon Saffeels. Saffeels has pleaded guilty in a federal case accusing him of offering money to have sex with a 13-year-old girl. U.S. prosecutors say Saffeels pleaded guilty on Tuesday, April 19, 2022, to attempted child enticement. (Maui Police Department via AP, File)
FILE - This undated photo provided by Maui Police Department shows former Maui police officer Brandon Saffeels. Saffeels has pleaded guilty in a federal case accusing him of offering money to have sex with a 13-year-old girl. U.S. prosecutors say Saffeels pleaded guilty on Tuesday, April 19, 2022, to attempted child enticement. (Maui Police Department via AP, File)
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FILE - This undated photo provided by Maui Police Department shows former Maui police officer Brandon Saffeels. Saffeels has pleaded guilty in a federal case accusing him of offering money to have sex with a 13-year-old girl. U.S. prosecutors say Saffeels pleaded guilty on Tuesday, April 19, 2022, to attempted child enticement. (Maui Police Department via AP, File)
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FILE - This undated photo provided by Maui Police Department shows former Maui police officer Brandon Saffeels. Saffeels has pleaded guilty in a federal case accusing him of offering money to have sex with a 13-year-old girl. U.S. prosecutors say Saffeels pleaded guilty on Tuesday, April 19, 2022, to attempted child enticement. (Maui Police Department via AP, File)

HONOLULU (AP) — A former Maui police officer has pleaded guilty to a federal charge that he offered to pay a 13-year-old girl money for sex.

Brandon Saffeels, 37, pleaded guilty Tuesday to attempted child enticement, the U.S. attorney’s office in Hawaii said.

In December, Saffeels contacted the online profile of what appeared to be a young girl, but was really controlled by a law enforcement officer, prosecutors said.

“Plz don’t judge but im 13,” the undercover officer wrote to Saffeels, who replied “Age is just a number,” and asked for a “sexy pic,” according to court documents.

He offered money for sex with the girl and sent a nude photo of himself, court documents said.

When Saffeels was arrested at a Maui shopping center, he was scheduled to surrender to prison in January to begin a 2 1/2-year sentence in a separate public corruption case for soliciting sex from a woman he pulled over.

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He said he offered to help the woman by botching his testimony regarding the 2019 traffic stop. He said he wanted to purse a sexual relationship with her.

Prosecutors said he got her phone number from a police report. When he contacted her, he solicited sexual favors in exchange for helping her circumvent prosecution for drunk driving.

He is scheduled to be sentenced in the enticement case on Sept. 7. According to prosecutors, attempted enticement of a minor carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years.