News and Press Releases

Defendant Fled to Canada and was Extradited to Stand Trial

June 27, 2008

KENNETH GOUIN, 49, of Des Moines, Washington, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to 210 months (17 and a half years) in prison and lifetime supervised release for Possession of Child Pornography. GOUIN was convicted following a bench trial before Chief U.S. District Judge Robert S. Lasnik on March 18, 2008. GOUIN was already a registered sex offender for molesting children between November 1986, and January 1987. At sentencing Chief Judge Lasnik said horrific victimization of children through child pornography “is encouraged by knowing there is a market out there for people who will buy it, trade it, and use it for sexual gratification.”

According to testimony and records filed in the case, GOUIN and his twin brother, Kevin Gouin, first came to the attention of Des Moines police when their sister reported her adolescent son had seen child pornography on the computer the brothers shared. When police searched the Gouin brothers’ residence they found hundreds of printed images of child pornography in file folders and notebooks as well as numerous compact disks and floppy disks containing thousands of images of child pornography. During the search KENNETH GOUIN admitted acquiring child pornography via the internet. KENNETH GOUIN, who holds Canadian citizenship, fled to Canada following the search. Kevin Gouin pleaded guilty to Possession of Child Pornography and was sentenced on June 16, 2006, to 37 months in prison.

In October 2007, KENNETH GOUIN was extradited from Canada. GOUIN made his initial appearance on the indictment on October 4, 2007. Over a two day bench trial, the defense attorney claimed that there was insufficient evidence that the images of child pornography had traveled in interstate commerce. Such proof is necessary for federal criminal jurisdiction. Assistant United States Attorney Susan B. Dohrmann presented law enforcement witnesses from Texas, Missouri, Illinois, North Carolina, Idaho and Pennsylvania who testified that they had met the victim children depicted in the images in their home states, and knew that the locations where the images were produced were also in those states. Therefore the images must have traveled in interstate commerce to have been seized in GOUIN’s residence in Washington state.

At sentencing Assistant United States Attorney Susan B. Dohrmann asked for the longest sentence possible, in order to protect the community. “Defendant simply must not have any possible access to children in whatever form - actual or photographic - for as long as the law allows. It is the only way in the context of the facts of this case to assure the community that children are protected and that there is one less person able to participate in keeping the market for this abhorrent material thriving,” Ms. Dohrmann wrote in her sentencing memo.

Chief Judge Lasnik agreed the community needs to be protected, saying the sentence at the top of the guidelines range is necessary for “the safety of whatever community Mr. Gouin is released into.” GOUIN likely will be deported following his prison term.

This case was prosecuted as part of Project Safe Childhood. In February 2006, the U.S. Department of Justice launched Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys Offices, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as identify and rescue victims.

The case was investigated by the Des Moines Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Susan B. Dohrmann.

For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110.

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