Crime & Courts

Washington state man sentenced to 20 years for enticing Bethel girl

A Washington state man was sentenced in Anchorage federal court to spend 20 years in prison for enticing a girl who lived in Bethel to send him explicit photos.

U.S. District Court Judge Joshua Kindred on Friday also sentenced 41-year-old Spokane resident Brian Kevin Powell to 15 years of supervised release and ordered him to pay more than $35,000 in restitution.

During the investigation, officials learned that Powell had victimized at least four other children over the last 17 years, according to a sentencing memorandum filed by federal prosecutor Ainsley McNerney.

The girl was under 13 when Powell contacted her through the instant message app Snapchat in 2021 and he continued talking with her for more than five months through social media and over the phone, the memorandum said. He made her send him explicit content and attempted to control various aspects of her life, including isolating her from her family and friends, according to the memorandum.

Powell lied about his age to the girl and knew she was a minor when he contacted her, the memorandum said. He also went by the names Brian Gaither and Tyshawn Gaither online, prosecutors said.

Powell was arrested in Spokane in May 2022 on five charges including coercion and enticement of a minor, sexual exploitation of a minor and transfer of obscene material to a minor. The arrest was conducted by Alaska State Troopers investigators, working with Homeland Security Investigations and the Spokane Police Department, state officials have said.

Following Powell’s arrest, investigators learned of four additional victims, including one who said he had sexually abused her as a child, the memorandum said. A Michigan teenager also reported she had been in an online relationship with Powell for several years, it said. He continued contacting her from the Anchorage Correctional Center, according to the memorandum.


Powell in August pleaded guilty to a count of coercion and enticement of a minor and the other four charges were dismissed, according to the plea agreement.

Burke Wonnell, the federal public defender representing Powell, requested a 15-year sentence and noted that the offense did not include hands-on contact with the victim, according to a sentencing memorandum Wonnell filed. McNerney requested a 30-year sentence.

Anyone with information about Powell’s actions or who may have encountered someone using his name or aliases online can contact the Homeland Security Investigations tip line at 866-347-2423.