News and Press Releases

United States Attorney Jenny A. Durkan
Western District of Washington

Defendant Posted on line about Raping Young Boys

February 11, 2011

JOSHUA ROBERT STARNES, 23, of Olympia, Washington, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to 15 years in prison and lifetime of supervised release for Transportation of Child Pornography. STARNES was arrested by the Washington State Patrol (WSP), on December 31, 2009, after a story he wrote about raping young boys was posted on an internet site. STARNES had come to the attention of law enforcement a few months earlier after chatting with a source about his desire to molest young boys. When authorities searched STARNES’ computer they found the computer contained over 34,000 images and 291 video files of child pornography. At sentencing U.S. District Judge Ronald B. Leighton told him, “Your need for the approval of others was greater than your revulsion at these images … a person able to control themselves would have said ‘no’.”

According to records filed in the case, STARNES posted on an internet site about how he had inappropriately touched a pre-school age boy. STARNES also ‘chatted’ on line about his interest in molesting, raping, and otherwise assaulting young boys. STARNES traded child pornography with others via internet messenger services. STARNES was originally charged in state court, but was indicted by the federal grand jury on April 27, 2010. He pleaded guilty on October 5, 2010. He has been held at the Federal Detention Center at SeaTac, Washington since May 3, 2010.

“We are extremely pleased with the message this sentence sends to others who would prey on children ,” said John R. Batiste, chief of the Washington State Patrol. “Our Missing and Exploited Children Task Force put a lot of effort into this case. We appreciate the work of the US Attorney’s office in getting to this conclusion.”

In asking for the 15 year sentence, Assistant United States Attorney Brian Werner wrote to the court how the consumers of child pornography cause more children to be victimized. “The distribution and possession of child pornography keeps the market for this type of material thriving, and leads to circumstances where more of this material is created. When he was arrested, Mr. Starnes told the State Patrol that producers of child pornography will “continue to make it regardless if I look at it or not.” ..... Mr. Starnes is incorrect if he believes that consumers of child pornography
play no role in the creation of child pornography, some child pornography is “made-for-trade” for other child pornography.”

The case was investigated by the Washington Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (“ICAC”), including the law enforcement agencies, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Washington State Patrol. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Brian Werner.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), 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 to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit


Return to Top

USAO Homepage
USAO Briefing Room
Justice 101
Community Outreach

Engaging in outreach in order to prevent crime, respond to community needs, and promote good citizenship.

Victim Witness Assistance

Making sure that victims of federal crimes are treated with compassion, fairness and respect

Project Safe Neighborhoods

Our nation-wide commitment to reducing gun crime in America

Oficinas de los Fiscales de Estados Unidos En Español
Stay Connected with Twitter