Indiana resident sentenced to serve 34 years in federal prison for child exploitation crimes
DENVER – Steven Raines, age 35, of Fort Wayne, Indiana, was sentenced today by U.S. District Court Judge R. Brooke Jackson to serve 412 months (over 34 years) in federal prison for attempted coercion and enticement (to engage in unlawful sexual activity with a minor child) and distribution of child pornography, United States Attorney John Walsh and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agent in Charge Kumar Kibble announced. Following his prison sentence, Raines was ordered to serve a life time on Supervised Release. He appeared at the hearing in custody, and was remanded immediately after.
Raines was first charged by Criminal Complaint on July 2, 2012. He was indicted by a federal grand jury in Denver on July 9, 2012. He pled guilty on October 24, 2012. He was sentenced on January 22, 2013.
According to the stipulated facts contained in the plea agreement, on April 1, 2012, an HSI Special Agent based in Glenwood Springs, Colorado was chatting online in an undercover capacity. Specifically, the agent’s undercover persona was that of a single mother of two daughters under the age of 16. The agent entered a chat room, accessible by anyone, whose topic focused on sex with children. While in the chat room the undercover agent engaged in a chat with an individual who expressed interest in having sex with the undercover and the two minor children. The individual went on to say that he had been searching for 20 years for someone like the undercover who would provide sexual access to her children, and that he discovered that he was a “pedo” when he was 15. He also said that he had been previously accused of molesting a child to whom he had access, and that he previously attempted to meet someone like the undercover agent in person, but the person failed to show up.
The individual continued chatting and emailing the undercover using his smart phone for the next three months. He told the undercover that he did not have a computer. Eventually investigators identified the individual as 35-year old Steven Raines, who lived in Fort Wayne, Indiana. As the chats between Raines and the undercover progressed, Raines began to send pictures, some of which depicted child pornography. Eventually Raines and the undercover agent began to make plans for him to travel to Colorado in order to have sex with, or rape, the two young girls. The defendant’s main interest, however, was one of the children who was under the age of 6. He discussed wanting to father a child with the undercover agent. Raines also discussed other children he knew from church or his neighborhood, in whom he had a sexual interest and with whom he attempted to have some sort of contact.
As the travel plans were finalized, Raines stated that he was going to bring his child pornography collection with him to Colorado in order to “teach” the girls and stated an interest in producing child pornography with the undercover agent and the two minor girls. The content of the child pornography he was bringing featured mostly prepubescent females engaged in sexual acts and included sadistic or masochistic conduct. During the communications between Raines and the agent he made statements about both of his children, and about sexually molesting a minor child to whom he had access, and that he produced images of child pornography of his sexual abuse of that child.
The defendant began his travel to Colorado on June 29, 2012. He sent texts to the undercover agent during the duration of the trip. On June 30, 2012, near Topeka, Kansas, the defendant’s van broke down. He rented a vehicle to complete his journey. On June 30, 2012, the defendant arrived at a residence in Garfield County, Colorado, which was the address provided to him by the undercover agent. After his arrival he was taken into custody. Agents and officers seized the defendant’s cell phone, which has the capacity to take photographs and video, contained approximately 130 images and 84 videos of child pornography. During a lawful search of Raines’ home, agents and officers found various discs containing child pornography. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children identified 23 known series of child pornography featuring real child victims among the images the defendant had on his cell phone and in his email.
“Sexually exploiting children carries extraordinarily severe penalties – decades in federal prison, followed by a life term of Supervised Release,” said U.S. Attorney John Walsh. “It is a top priority of the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Department of Justice to protect children by prosecuting predators such as Raines.”
“This significant prison sentence removes another child predator from the streets for decades to come, which helps protect children everywhere,” said Kumar C. Kibble, special agent in charge of HSI Denver. “Unfortunately, there are many predators like Steven Raines who pretend to lead normal lives. But our HSI special agents, partnering with other law enforcement agencies, go to extraordinary lengths to help protect and rescue these child victims, while also targeting and prosecuting those who prey on them.”
This case was investigated by HSI and the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office. The HSI Resident Agent in Charge’s Office in Indianapolis, and the United States Attorney’s Office in Fort Wayne, Indiana, also played an important role in this investigation and prosecution.
Raines was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michelle Heldmyer and ICE Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Lillian Alves with support from Assistant U.S. Attorney Alecia Riewerts Wolak.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood (PSC), a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, PSC marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about PSC, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc/ For more information about Internet safety education, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc/resources.html and click on the tab “resources.”