Federal Way Resident Sentenced to 18 Years in Prison for Sex Offenses, Production and Distribution of Images of Child Sexual Abuse
Defendant Pursued Images of Child Rape even after Criminal Prosecution in State Court
A 38-year-old Federal Way, Washington man was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to 18 years in prison and lifetime supervised release for five federal felonies involving the sexual exploitation of children, announced U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes. STEVEN MARC RIGTRUP was arrested in April 2017, and pleaded guilty in November 2017 to enticement of a minor, two counts of distribution of child pornography, possession of child pornography and production of child pornography. At the sentencing hearing U.S. District Judge James L. Robart asked him, “Where is there some acknowledgement that you have destroyed peoples’ lives? ...You must be removed from society for the protection of our community.”
According to records filed in the case, in February 2014, RIGTRUP molested a 15-year-old girl he met after placing an ad on Craigslist. RIGTRUP photographed his molestation of the teen and the photos were sent to another sex offender in southern California. In November 2014, RIGTRUP was arrested and prosecuted in King County Superior Court for soliciting sex via the internet with someone he thought was a teen-ager. In fact, the person he was trying to entice was an undercover officer. RIGTRUP was sentenced to a year in prison, but quickly became involved in child exploitation offenses again following his release. Law enforcement received a CyberTip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited children that images of child sexual abuse had been uploaded from an email account associated with RIGTRUP. When law enforcement searched RIGTRUP’s residence and electronic devices in February 2017, they discovered more than 588 images and four videos of children being raped and molested.
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.justice.gov/psc.
The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Marie Dalton.