News and Press Releases

United States Attorney Jenny A. Durkan
Western District of Washington

Skagit County Felon Sentenced To Long Prison Term For Child Pornography And Gun Possession

Defendant Had 2006 State Convictions for Possession of Child Pornography

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 2, 2012

            A Skagit County felon was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to 13 years in prison for possession of child pornography and being a felon in possession of a firearm, announced U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan.  LEIF O’NEIL CHRISTENSEN, 32, of Anacortes, Washington had been convicted in 2006 in Snohomish County of possession of child pornography.  Due to that conviction, CHRISTENSEN faced a ten year mandatory minimum sentence, and was prohibited from possessing a firearm.  U.S. District Judge James L. Robart imposed 20 years of supervised release following the prison term.

            CHRISTENSEN came to the attention of law enforcement in February 2010, when an FBI agent working on line in an undercover capacity identified an internet protocol (IP) address that was using peer-to-peer file sharing software to distribute child pornography.  The IP address was linked to CHRISTENSEN.  As officers were preparing search warrants, CHRISTENSEN was arrested for failing to register as a sex offender.   In December 2010, a second investigation led to a different IP address associated with CHRISTENSEN in Anacortes, Washington.  In March 2011, law enforcement searched that home and found both child pornography and a Ruger firearm in CHRISTENSEN’s living space.  CHRISTENSEN was arrested.  He was indicted in October 2011, and pleaded guilty in January 2012.

            In asking for a 15 year sentence, prosecutors wrote to the court that CHRISTENSEN’s
criminal history “reveals a combustible mix of sexual deviancy, violence, poor impulse
control, and drug abuse and addiction.  He has admitted to molesting three boys when  he
was in his late teens and early 20s.  The abuse he suffered as a child undoubtedly affected him, and most likely contributed to his current criminal history and the instant offense.  Understanding his background may help explain his situation somewhat, but it does not mitigate the danger that he poses now, to the community at large and to young children that he might meet.  The overriding concern is that the defendant be prevented from molesting another boy.”

            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 www.projectsafechildhood.gov.

            The case was investigated by the FBI, the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office and the Anacortes Police Department.

            The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Jerrod Patterson and Jeffrey Backhus.

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