How texting on airplane led to child sex abuse charges

A Tacoma couple has been charged with planning to sexually abuse two children and produce pornography of the act.

Federal prosecutors charged a Tacoma couple with planning to sexually abuse two children and produce pornography.

The case that made national headlines last week, after a passenger on an airplane noticed some suspicious behavior from the man sitting in front of her.

50-year-old Gail Burnworth appeared in federal court in Tacoma in shorts, a t-shirt, and pony tail Monday, likely the same clothes she wore when police arrested her last week.

She seemed a bit confused. Her public defender paused proceedings twice to explain matters to her.

According to court documents, "Burnworth acknowledged having a sexual interest in children, that she was attracted to both boys and girls. Her preference was prepubescent children."

"Burnworth estimated she created 15 to 20 depictions" of child pornography with two children close to her. 

It's unclear if she committed the crimes before or after meeting 56-year-old Michael Kellar on Match.com. Authorities claim she sent the images to Kellar via email then deleted the files. She also admitted she was arranging a time for Kellar to have a sexual encounter with them, according to the federal complaint.

The documents also revealed the graphic text message conversation between her and Kellar, while Kellar sat on a Southwest flight from Seattle to San Jose last week.

Kellar texted "Do you really think you can do this or are you just saying this?"

Burnworth answered, "No I think I can do it if I don't have parents over my shoulder or worried who's going to walk in on me."

He texted "You'll have to give them lots of Benadryl."

She wrote back "Honey, I know."

Authorities credit a Seattle pre-school teacher who sat behind Kellar on the plane. She saw the texts in large font and notified the flight crew who contacted police.

Kellar is a longtime employee of a glass company in Seattle according to his LinkedIn profile. His Facebook page has a collection of selfies, and now includes posts from the public calling him "a disgusting creep," telling him to "enjoy prison."

The couple faces 15 to 30 years if convicted.

© 2017 KING-TV


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment
TRENDING VIDEOS
More Stories