Virginia Man Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison in Project Safe Childhood Case
PITTSBURGH - A former resident of Alexandria, Virginia, has been sentenced in federal court to 10 years’ imprisonment followed by 10 years’ supervised release on his conviction for federal crimes related to the sexual exploitation of a minor, Acting United States Attorney Troy Rivetti announced today. Specifically, Vutipawat was convicted after a plea of guilty on three counts: (1) Travel With Intent to Engage in Illicit Sexual Conduct, (2) Transportation With Intent to Engage in Criminal Sexual Activity, and (3) Obstruction of Justice – Hindering Communication Through Corrupt Persuasion,
Apipat Vutipawat, also known as “Viktor Vutipawat,” “Viktor Koi,” “Arty Freedom,” and “Victor Kim,” age 29, of Alexandria Virginia, pleaded guilty to three counts before Senior United States District Judge Joy Flowers Conti.
According to information presented to the court, Vutipawat, then 26 years old, was arrested in mid-May 2020 in Washington County, Pennsylvania on charges related to the sexual abuse of a 14-year-old minor. At that time, Vutipawat was released on bond and returned to his home state of Virginia. On May 29, 2020, Vutipawat traveled from Virginia to the Western District of Pennsylvania and assisted the minor in absconding from placement. Vutipawat then took the minor to an apartment in Virginia. Vutipawat’s travel from Virginia to Pennsylvania was tracked by his cellular telephone. Other evidence on Vutipawat’s cell phone, including his internet search history, indicated Vutipawat’s intent to engage in sexual contact with the minor when he traveled to Pennsylvania and then transported the minor back to Virginia. Vutipawat originally met the minor on a website called “Secret Benefits” and presented himself to the minor as a wealthy businessman.
Assistant United States Attorney Heidi M. Grogan is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.
Homeland Security Investigations-Pittsburgh, Homeland Security Investigations-York, Homeland Security Investigations-DC, Pennsylvania State Police, North Strabane Township Police Department, and the Fairfax County Police (Virginia) conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of Vutipawat.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the 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. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.