News and Press Releases

United States Attorney Jenny A. Durkan
Western District of Washington

Former Youth Pastor Sentenced To 25 Years In Prison For Producing Child Pornography

Defendant Molested Children of Family Friends

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 6, 2012

            A Vancouver, Washington man who once volunteered as a youth pastor was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to 25 years in prison and lifetime supervised release for production of child pornography, announced U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan.  MICHAEL SCOTT NORRIS, 45, was arrested in 2006, after an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigation (ICE-HSI) revealed NORRIS was participating in child pornography distribution websites.  When law enforcement searched NORRIS’ residence they discovered movies and images of young children engaged in sexually explicit conduct.  NORRIS had made the images of two children.  The children’s parents trusted NORRIS to spend time with their children, because he had been a youth pastor for a youth group at a Portland, Oregon church.  At sentencing U.S. District Judge Robert L. Bryan said, “the most important part of the sentence was to protect the public.”

            NORRIS was charged for his criminal conduct both in federal court and in Clark County Superior Court.  It is anticipated that Norris will plead guilty to child molestation charges in state court and be sentenced to 35 years in prison.  The prosecution will recommend that the sentences run concurrently, and that NORRIS first serve time in federal prison.  NORRIS has been in custody since his arrest in August 2006. NORRIS was indicted federally in January 2011, and pleaded guilty in August 2011.

            In asking for a 35 year sentence, prosecutors wrote to the court, “Michael Scott Norris committed unimaginable crimes.  For years, he molested and sexually abused a pair of siblings, a young girl and boy…. Norris was trying to inflict the maximum amount of psychological pain and damage on his helpless victims.  His actions were calculated to destroy these children, to shatter them beyond repair.”

            “Child predators are confidence men who maneuver themselves into positions of trust to perpetrate their heinous crimes,” said Brad Bench, acting special agent in charge of HSI Seattle.  “In their wake they leave broken victims and damaged communities. HSI is committed to using every tool at its disposal to seek out and bring these criminals to justice.” 

            The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigation (ICE-HSI) and the Vancouver Police Department.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michael Dion.

            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.

 

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