Attorney General Merrick Garland Honors Three Spokane Federal Prosecutors for their Outstanding Government Service
Spokane– Joseph H. Harrington, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced that Wayne Lee Lafferty, age 53, of Kennewick, Washington, was sentenced after having pleaded guilty on October 24, 2017, to possession of child pornography. Senior United States District Judge Edward F. Shea sentenced Lafferty to a ten-year term of imprisonment, to be followed by a fifteen-year term of court supervision after he is released from Federal prison. Lafferty will be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
According to information disclosed during court proceedings, a Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agent was conducting an online undercover investigation relating to the distribution of child pornography. During that investigation, an IP address affiliated with Lafferty and his residence in Kennewick was identified as distributing images of child pornography. Law enforcement agents obtained a federal search warrant for Lafferty’s residence.
Law enforcement agents with HSI and Southeast Regional Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (SER-ICAC) executed the search warrant at Lafferty’s residence and seized electronic devices including a computer. During a forensic examination, agents identified over 47,000 images and video files of child pornography. The child pornography on Lafferty’s electronic devices included images of infants and toddlers and sadistic and masochistic conduct. When interviewed by law enforcement, Lafferty admitted he started viewing child pornography on his computer, after his supervision by the Washington State Department of Corrections for a prior state conviction for possession of child pornography had ended.
During the sentencing hearing, Judge Shea addressed the psychological consequences suffered by the minor victims depicted in the images possessed by Lafferty, as detailed in victim impact statements submitted to the Court. Judge Shea categorized Lafferty’s criminal conduct as a “concerning pattern of behavior that has gone on for years” and his history as “consistent with a person who has a fundamental core problem with child pornography,” despite a prior state conviction and treatment for a similar offense.
Joseph H. Harrington said, “The Court’s sentence should serve as a warning to those criminals who possess child pornography – they will be actively pursued by federal and state law enforcement officers. This case is an example of the superb work that can be accomplished when Homeland Security Investigations and the Southeast Regional Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force work together. The United States Attorney’s Office will continue to prosecute aggressively child pornography crimes that occur in the Eastern District of Washington.”
This case was pursued as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the United States Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. The Project Safe Childhood Initiative (“PSC”) has five major components:
• Integrated federal, state, and local efforts to investigate and prosecute child exploitation cases, and to identify and rescue children;
• Participation of PSC partners in coordinated national initiatives;
• Increased federal enforcement in child pornography and enticement cases;
• Training of federal, state, and local law enforcement agents; and
• Community awareness and educational programs.
Homeland Security Investigations and the Southeast Regional Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force conducted the investigation of this matter. The case was prosecuted by Laurel J. Holland, an Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington.