Couple indicted after fellow airplane passenger sees texts about child molestation

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Two Tacoma, Washington residents who were observed texting on an airplane about sexually molesting children have been indicted by a grand jury in Seattle, announced U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes. Michael Keller, 56, and Gail Lynn Burnworth, 50, were arrested last month after an alert passenger on a flight to San Jose, California noticed disturbing texts between Keller, who was on the plane, and Burnworth, who was in Tacoma. Burnworth had access to two minor children.

“Two children are safe tonight because an observant passenger on a plane did the right thing,” said U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes. “I commend law enforcement who quickly acted to get these defendants into custody, and protect two children from sexual abuse.”

Both Keller and Burnworth are charged with conspiracy to produce child pornography. Keller is charged with two counts of attempted enticement of a minor in connection with his communication to Burnworth regarding the sexual exploitation and rape of each of the minor children.

Conspiracy to produce child pornography is punishable by a mandatory minimum 15 years in prison and up to 30 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Attempted enticement of a minor is punishable by a mandatory minimum ten years in prison and up to life in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Burnworth is charged in Pierce County Superior Court with child rape, child molestation and two counts of sexual exploitation of a minor.