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Press Release

Puyallup Man Sentenced To Five Years In Federal Prison for Receipt of Child Pornography

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Washington

Richland, Washington – Michael C. Ormsby, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced that Robert John Kearns, age 54, of Puyallup, Washington, was sentenced today after having previously pleaded guilty in November of 2013 to Receipt of Child Pornography. Senior United States District Court Judge Edward F. Shea sentenced Kearns to a five year term of imprisonment, to be followed by a life term of court supervision after he is released from Federal prison. In addition, Kearns will be required to register as a sex offender.

According to court records, in March of 2010, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Grant County Sherriff's Office conducted an investigation of a mother using her children to produce images of child pornography. The mother, Pamela Ortega, plead guilty to three counts of Rape of a Minor and was sentenced in Washington State to 300 months imprisonment. As a result of the investigation into Ortega, law enforcement determined that one of the individuals she was communicating with about producing child pornography images was Robert John Kearns. On April 14, 2011, the FBI executed a search warrant at Kearns' residence and located a laptop computer belonging to Kearns. A forensic examination of Kearns' laptop revealed that it contained images of child pornography that Kearns had requested Ortega send him from her residence in Warden, Washington, to Kearns at his residence in Puyallup, Washington.

Michael C. Ormsby said, "Prosecuting offenders who possess and collect child pornography is a priority of the United States Attorney's Office in the Eastern District of Washington. This Office, together with its Federal and state law enforcement partners, is and will continue to be committed to prosecuting aggressively and seeking appropriate punishment for child pornography-related crimes."

This case was prosecuted 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 child victims;
  • 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.

For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit . For information about internet safety education, please visit and click on the tab "resources".

This investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Grant County Sherriff's Office. The case was prosecuted by Stephanie J. Lister, an Assistant United States Attorney and PSC Coordinator for the Eastern District of Washington.


Updated January 29, 2015