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Ex-Maui officer who admitted sex solicitation arrested again

HONOLULU — A former Maui police officer who was scheduled to report to federal prison next month for soliciting sex from a woman he pulled over has been arrested for offering money to have sex with a 13-year-old girl.

Last month, a U.S. judge sentenced Brandon Saffeels to 2 1/2 years in prison for fraud charges after he pleaded guilty and said he offered to help the woman by botching his testimony in the 2019 traffic stop and eventually wanted to pursue a sexual relationship with her. Prosecutors said he got the woman’s phone number from a police report and then solicited a bribe in the form of sexual favors in exchange for helping her circumvent prosecution for drunk driving.

He was scheduled to begin serving his sentence on Jan. 7, but is now detained on a new federal charge of attempted enticement of a minor. He’s also charged in state court with electronic enticement of a child, indecent electronic display to a child and solicitation of a minor for prostitution.

The judge who sentenced him ordered Wednesday that he begin serving the time immediately.

On Friday, he allegedly used his cell phone to exchange messages with someone he thought was a 13-year-old girl, but was really an undercover officer working on a Maui police operation to arrest those who used the internet to commit sexual crimes against children.

“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 an affidavit filed in federal court.

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

He was arrested Sunday at a Maui shopping center, where he arranged to meet the girl, the document said.

He participated in a hearing in federal court by phone from the Honolulu Federal Detention Center Wednesday. His court-appointed attorney, John Schum, said Saffeels agrees to remain detained. After the hearing, Schum declined to comment.

A deputy public defender entered a not guilty plea on Saffeels’ behalf during a hearing Tuesday on the state charges.
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald

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