Accused Daughter Rapist Arraigned In U.S.

An undated photo provided by the U.S. Marshals Service shows Kenneth John Freeman. AP Photo/U.S. Marshals Service

A man accused of raping his daughter and posting videos of the abuse online was arraigned Friday after returning to the United States from Hong Kong.

Kenneth John Freeman, 45, appeared in federal court in Spokane a day after his extradition. He was indicted in January on one count of producing child pornography and one count of transporting child pornography.

A half dozen U.S. marshals were in the courtroom with Freeman, his wrists shackled to a waist chain, during a 10-minute arraignment. U.S. Magistrate Judge Cynthia Imbrogno entered a not guilty plea for Freeman and ordered him held without bond.

Freeman made no statement and quietly answered "I do, your honor" and "Yes, your honor" to Imbrogno's questions on whether he understood his rights.

Freeman, a computer adviser, bodybuilder and former reserve sheriff's deputy in Washington's Benton County, also is wanted on federal child pornography charges in Oregon. He is also accused of child rape and bail-jumping in Benton County, state charges related to the suspected attack on his daughter.

In March 2006, he fled the country for Hong Kong, living for a year in the interior of China before his arrest in May as he re-entered Hong Kong. He agreed to be extradited. Agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the U.S. Marshals Service flew to Hong Kong on Monday and returned with Freeman on Thursday afternoon, U.S. Marshal Mike Kline said.

Federal prosecutors, law enforcement officials and Benton County deputy prosecutor Adrienne Farabee declined to discuss specifics of the case. It involved diplomacy and cooperation from China, which has no extradition treaty with the U.S.

ICE agent Mike McCool said it would be inappropriate to discuss details of China's involvement in the extradition.

"I would just highly congratulate their efforts," he said.

In a statement released to news media last week, Freeman did not deny allegations by his now 17-year-old daughter that he videotaped her abuse four years ago and distributed the sexual assault via Internet pornographers.

Freeman had been living in Seattle when he fled the United States last year, months after his daughter told her mother he had assaulted her. He was on the most-wanted lists of the Marshals Service and ICE.

His daughter also discussed the case on the TV show "America's Most Wanted." The posted videos of the abuse have been widely downloaded, officials said.

Video files depicting the abuse also were discovered on a computer Freeman had given to his daughter.

A U.S. attorney's spokeswoman in Portland did not immediately return a call seeking details on the Oregon charges.

Farabee said the girl's family is pleased Freeman has been returned to face charges.

In his statement, Freeman did not directly address the sexual abuse allegations against him but said "he never physically hurt or threatened" his daughter.

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