News and Press Releases

United States Attorney Jenny A. Durkan
Western District of Washington

Previous State Convictions for Child Molestation and Possession of Child Pornography

January 28, 2011

ROBERT D. SPRAGUE, 62, of Ferndale, Washington, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to 15 years in prison and lifetime supervised release for possession of child pornography. SPRAGUE was previously convicted in Whatcom County Superior Court of two counts of child molestation (1994) and one count of possession of child pornography (2002). At sentencing U.S. District Judge Marsha J. Pechman told him, “you like to watch people do violent things, you like to watch people rape children.... You’re creating a market for people who like to torture children.”

According to records filed in the case, SPRAGUE first came to the attention of federal law enforcement during the course of a national investigation of child pornography web sites accepting payment from an online currency called E-gold. The investigation revealed that SPRAGUE was one of a number of defendants purchasing child pornography with E-gold. In September 2007, agents with the FBI and with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement served search warrants at SPRAGUE’s Ferndale home. They seized computers and multiple hard-drives in the bedroom of the residence. Analysis of the computers and hard-drives revealed hundreds of child pornography videos and thousands of photos of child pornography.

In his request for a 15 year sentence, Assistant United States Attorney Nicholas Brown noted that a long sentence is necessary to protect the public since SPRAGUE has repeatedly shown he is a danger to children. Despite his prior convictions he continues to seek out and possess child pornography. “The nature of the crime is such that with the push of a button or the click of a mouse, the victims are repeatedly traumatized and re-exposed to ridicule, embarrassment, and shame. Images of child pornography are depictions of crime scenes, with a real and tangible impact on the victims,” Mr. Brown wrote in his sentencing memo.

The case was investigated by the FBI and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Nicholas Brown.


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