U.S. Attorney's Office - District of Oregon
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News Releases
Oregon Man Found Guilty of Sexually Abusing Children at Orphanage in Cambodia - 05/16/18

EUGENE, Ore. – A federal jury found Daniel Stephen Johnson, 40, of Coos Bay, Oregon, guilty today of repeatedly sexually abusing children who lived at an orphanage operated by the defendant in Cambodia. The verdict marks the end of the second foreign sexual exploitation trial held in the District of Oregon.

Johnson was convicted on six counts of engaging in illicit sexual conduct in a foreign place and one count each of travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct and aggravated sexual assault with children.

“The despicable nature of this defendant’s conduct is beyond understanding. Whether you are abusing children in this country or abroad, you will be pursued and held accountable in a court of law,” said Billy J. Williams, U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon. “The fact that this defendant abused children under the guise of being a missionary and orphanage operator is appalling.”

“Daniel Johnson’s promises of charity and a better life were nothing more than lies as he dragged these children into his dark world of abuse,” said Renn Cannon, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Oregon. “This case should serve as a warning to those predators who believe they can hide their crimes – whether here at home or half-a-world-away. We will always stand with the victims, and we will always work to bring justice in their names.”

According to court documents and information shared during trial, between November 2005 and his arrest in December 2013, Johnson systematically and repeatedly molested children who lived at an unlicensed orphanage he operated in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. To date, nine Cambodian victims—who ranged in age from seven to 18 years old at the time of abuse—have disclosed Johnson’s abuse or attempted abuse.

Victims describe a pattern of molestation that includes, among other things, Johnson making them perform oral sex on him and anally raping them. Multiple victims said they were, on numerous occasions, awoken to Johnson abusing them. Following the abuse, Johnson would sometimes provide his impoverished victims with small amounts of money or food. On one occasion, Johnson gave a victim the equivalent of $2.50 in Cambodian currency.

In 2013, a warrant was issued for Johnson’s arrest on an unrelated case by officials in Lincoln County, Oregon. Local law enforcement officers worked with the FBI to locate Johnson overseas. The FBI in turn worked with the U.S. Department of State to revoke Johnson’s passport based on the Oregon warrant. Through the work of the FBI, Action Pour Les Enfants, a non-governmental organization dedicated to ending child sexual abuse and exploitation in Cambodia, and the Cambodian National Police (CNP), Johnson was located in Phnom Penh.

On December 9, 2013, CNP arrested Johnson. Based on disclosures made by children at the orphanage, Cambodian officials charged Johnson and detained him pending trial. In May 2014, Johnson was convicted by a Cambodian judge of performing indecent acts on one or more children at the orphanage and sentenced to a year in prison. Following his release from prison, Johnson was escorted back to the U.S. by the FBI.

Based on the sexual-abuse allegations against him, the FBI undertook a lengthy investigation of Johnson. During the course of their investigation, agents interviewed more than a dozen children and adults who had resided at the orphanage. Many of the interviews were audio- and video-taped and, in several instances, conducted in Cambodia by trained child-forensic interviewers. Some victims were interviewed multiple times before disclosing Johnson’s abuse.

Johnson was indicted by a federal grand jury in Eugene, Oregon on December 20, 2014 on one count of engaging in illicit sexual conduct in a foreign place. Seven additional charges were added by superseding indictment on May 17, 2017.

While in custody awaiting trial, Johnson made multiple efforts to tamper with witnesses and obstruct justice. Johnson contacted his victims online, encouraging them to lie and offering money and gifts. One message, sent via his relative’s Facebook account to an adult in Cambodia, discussed visiting a victim’s family and encouraging them to convince the victim to retract their statement, potentially in exchange for $10,000. Another message explains the need for a victim to say they were under duress and “pushed by police” to thumbprint a document.

Johnson faces a maximum sentence of life in prison and is subject to a 30 year mandatory minimum. He will be sentenced on Wednesday, August 22, 2018 before U.S. District Court Judge Michael J. McShane.

This case was investigated by the FBI. It was prosecuted by Jeffrey S. Sweet and Ravi Sinha, Assistant U.S. Attorneys for the District of Oregon, and Lauren E. Britsch, Trial Attorney for the Justice Department’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section. Amy E. Potter, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon, assisted with the prosecution.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Launched in May 2006 by the U.S. Department of Justice and led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.

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Attached Media Files: VERDICT-Johnson-Final.pdf
U.S. Attorney's Office Joins in Recognizing National Police Week, May 13-19, 2018 - 05/14/18

FBI Releases 2017 Statistics on of Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted

PORTLAND, Ore. – Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Billy J. Williams, U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon, recognize the service and sacrifice of federal, state, local, and tribal police officers on the occasion of National Police Week, and commented on the FBI's 2017 Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted report.

“One officer death is too many,” Attorney General Sessions said. “While we are inexpressibly grateful to have had a decrease in the number of officers killed in the line-of-duty last year, the number is still far too high. At the Department of Justice, we honor the memories of the fallen and we pray for their families. We are also following President Trump's Executive Orders to back the women and men in blue, to enhance law enforcement safety, and to reduce violent crime in America. Those priorities will help keep every American safe, including those who risk their lives for us. As always, we have their backs and they have our thanks.”

“Working with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement officers in Oregon is a distinct honor and one of the highlights of my job,” said Billy J. Williams, U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon. “During National Police Week, we honor the 93 men and women who lost their lives protecting their communities as well as the countless others who continue to serve with unfailing dedication and an unwavering commitment to excellence. Supporting police and fostering strong relationships between our communities and law enforcement is top priority for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.”

According to statistics collected by the FBI, 93 law enforcement officers were killed in line-of-duty incidents in 2017 – a 21 percent decrease from 2016 when 118 law enforcement officers were killed in line-of-duty incidents.

Additionally, in 2017 there were 46 law enforcement officers killed in line-of-duty incidents as a result of felonious acts – this is a 30 percent decrease from 2016, when 66 law enforcement officer were killed in line-of-duty incidents as a result of felonious acts.

For the full comprehensive data tables about these incidents and brief narratives describing the fatal attacks and selected assaults resulting in injury, please see the 2017 edition of Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted report, released today.

In October 1962, Congress passed and President Kennedy signed a joint resolution declaring May 15th as National Peace Officers Memorial Day to honor law enforcement officers killed or disabled in the line of duty. The resolution also created National Police Week as an annual tribute to law enforcement service and sacrifice.

During Police Week, which is observed from Sunday, May 13 to Saturday, May 19, 2018, our nation celebrates the contributions of police officers from around the country, recognizing their hard work, dedication, loyalty and commitment in keeping our communities safe.

The names of all 93 fallen officers nationwide were formally dedicated on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, DC, during the 30th Annual Candlelight Vigil on the evening of May 13, 2018. One District of Oregon officer was added this year: John Edward Lawrence, City of Bend Police Department, End of Watch: December 4, 2014.

The Candlelight Vigil is one of many commemorative events taking place in the nation’s capital during National Police Week 2018.

For more information about other National Police Week events, please visit www.policeweek.org.

To access the FBI's 2017 Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted report, please visit www.fbi.gov.

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Former Lake Oswego Financial Advisor Pleads Guilty to Defrauding Investors - 05/08/18

PORTLAND, Ore. – Shayne Kniss, 42, formerly of Lake Oswego, Oregon, pleaded guilty today to one count of wire fraud for defrauding clients of his investment firm, Iris Capital Management Group, LLC (Iris Capital).

“Investment advisors are legally required to act in the best interest of the clients. This defendant did the exact opposite.” said Billy J. Williams, U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon. “Kniss lied to and took advantage of his clients, many of whom were over 65, to fund his own personal pursuits.”

“Kniss treated these victims - and their savings accounts - like his personal ATM,” said Renn Cannon, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Oregon. “If you - or senior citizens in your family - are considering investments of any kind, make sure you do your research. Only invest with reputable firms and, if the promised returns sound too good to be true, they likely are.”

According to court documents, Kniss founded Iris Capital in October 2010 and offered real estate based investments in several different funds to investors. Through various means, including brochures, private placement memoranda, emails, and personal presentations, Kniss misrepresented how he would manage investor funds.

Between February 2011 and April 2013, 47 people invested approximately $4.3 million in Kniss’s funds. Kniss commingled investor money among the funds, used new investments to make payments to prior investors, and used more than $500,000 for person use, including investing in a retail marijuana enterprise.

Kniss faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine or twice the gross financial gains or losses resulting from the offense if greater than $250,000, and three years of supervised release. He will be sentenced on Wednesday, August 22, 2018 before U.S. District Court Judge Michael W. Mosman.

The FBI investigated this case. It is being prosecuted by Seth D. Uram, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

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Attached Media Files: CHANGE_OF_PLEA-Kniss-Final.pdf