News and Press Releases

KENMORE MAN SENTENCED TO 12+ YEARS IN PRISON FOR CHILD PORN CHARGES
Man Faces Additional State Sentence for Molesting Young Child

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 6, 2009

ROBERT LESLIE FRANCIS, 38, of Kenmore, Washington, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to 151 months in prison and ten years of supervised release for two counts of distribution of child pornography and possession of child pornography. The investigation began in January 2007, after the arrest of a Utah man who, in August 2006, had traded child porn with FRANCIS. In September 2007, FRANCIS used the “Google Hello!” program to send child pornography to an undercover federal agent who was working on-line, posing as someone who would trade child pornography. FRANCIS was arrested September 26, 2007. At sentencing late today, U.S. District Judge Marsha J. Pechman said she would recommend that FRANCIS have both sexual deviancy, and drug and alcohol treatment while in prison. When released FRANCIS will be required to register as a sex offender and participate in additional treatment.

According to records filed in the case, when agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) examined FRANCIS’ computer, they found more than 14,000 images of real children being abused.

Two series of pictures were made by FRANCIS. One series contains the fully clothed images of the wife and child of FRANCIS’ good friend. FRANCIS created written descriptions on the pictures, detailing his fantasies of raping, molesting and injuring the mother and child. A second set of images depicts sexual activity by FRANCIS at a home where he had performed construction work. As part of the federal plea agreement, FRANCIS will plead guilty in King County Superior Court to first degree child molestation. FRANCIS faces a state sentence of 12 to 16 years in prison.

“Those who exploit children in this manner will stop at nothing to gain access and victimize the innocent. This case serves as a potent reminder to be alert and protect the youngest members of our community,” said Leigh Winchell, Special Agent in Charge of ICE’s Office of Investigations in Seattle. “ICE remains steadfast in its commitment to aggressively investigate child predator cases to ensure that those who lurk in the shadows of the Internet and prey upon the innocence of children face justice for their criminal actions.”

Assistant United States Attorney Roger Rogoff highlighted the excellent work of state and federal law enforcement working in close cooperation on the case. “The investigation merged technologically advanced computer forensics with good old fashioned police work. The computer forensics branch of ICE found the photographic evidence of molestation on the computer, and the King County Sheriff’s Office and King County Prosecutor’s Office identified the victim and built the molestation case against FRANCIS,” Mr. Rogoff said.

This case is being brought 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 Attorney’s Office, 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. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov/.

The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the King County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO). The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Roger Rogoff and King County Deputy Prosecutors Zachary Wagnild and Ian Goodhew.

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

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