Former Maui Police Department officer Brandon Saffeels faces both state and federal charges in his arrest on Sunday for allegedly soliciting someone he believed to be a child for sexual purposes .
In his appearance at 2nd Circuit Court on Tuesday, Saffeels, 37, of Waiehu pleaded not guilty to counts of electronic first-degree seduction of a child, electronic display indecent towards a child and solicitation of a child. ‘a minor for the purposes of prostitution.
He was ordered to be held without bond pending a pre-trial conference on January 18.
Police said Saffeels was among six people arrested over the weekend in Operation Keiki Shield 10, which targeted offenders who commit Internet-facilitated child sex crimes.
He was scheduled to appear this morning before trial judge Kenneth Mansfield of the United States District Court in Honolulu.
According to an affidavit in support of a complaint accusing Saffeels of attempting to seduce a minor, he used a phone number registered in his name to contact an undercover law enforcement officer around 10:30 a.m. Friday. The two exchanged messages over a 38-hour period, with the undercover officer saying at one point: “Please don’t judge but I’m 13,” according to the affidavit.
Saffeels allegedly sent messages saying he had money for sex and later sent a nude photo, according to the affidavit. He indicates that MPD agents familiar with Saffeels saw the photo and verified that it was Saffeels.
At around 10:30 p.m. on Saturday, Saffeels allegedly contacted the undercover agent and asked him to meet for sex, the affidavit states. After the officer requested to meet at Safeway at the Piilani Village shopping center in Kihei, Saffeels attended the store and was apprehended at 12:11 am as he was leaving the store, according to the affidavit.
In an interview with an MPD detective and FBI special agents, Saffeels admitted to sending the messages, believing he was speaking with a 13-year-old girl, and admitted that he intended to have contact. sex with the girl when he entered the store, according to the affidavit.
Saffeels had been an MPD officer for about four years before being fired on November 22, 2019, after being placed on unpaid leave in August 2019 following an investigation into a complaint involving a woman he arrested for drunk driving after a crash. After her release, Saffeels began communicating with the woman by phone and text, requesting sex with her and telling her that he would help her. “to beat” the case being brought against her by the Maui County District Attorney, according to reports in a federal public corruption case against Saffeels.
In November, he was sentenced to two and a half years in federal prison after pleading guilty to seven counts of wire fraud. Saffeels, who had been released on an unsecured bond of $ 25,000, was ordered to surrender on January 7 to serve a prison sentence. He had been allowed to travel to California from Dec. 17 to visit his children before his due date, court records show.
* Lila Fujimoto can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.