Former Service Member Pleads Guilty to Sexual Abuse of a Minor
Faces Decades in Prison for Molesting Young Child at Two Military
A former member of the military pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to two counts related to sexual molestation of a young child on different military bases in Washington and Louisiana, announced U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes. KENNETH PAUL DESCOTEAUX, 41, was arrested in April 2016, after the minor victim disclosed to authorities that DESCOTEAUX had been sexually molesting the victim since 2011. Under the terms of the plea agreement, both sides will recommend a sentence of 23 years in prison. U.S. District Judge Benjamin H. Settle scheduled sentencing for August 7, 2017.
According to records filed in the case, the victim disclosed the abuse while residing in Wyoming. The Cheyenne Police Department worked closely with the FBI and law enforcement at Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) and the Fort Polk Military Installation to investigate the crimes that occurred when the victim and DESCOTEAUX resided on those military installations. DESCOTEAUX was indicted both in federal court in the Western District of Louisiana and in the Western District of Washington since both military bases are exclusive federal enclaves where criminal cases are prosecuted in federal court. The criminal conduct in Louisiana occurred between 2011 and 2014 when the victim was ages 7-10. The crimes on JBLM occurred between 2014 and 2015 when the victim was 11-years-old. In addition to the sexual abuse, the victim was also repeatedly struck in the head by DESCOTEAUX, at one point causing hearing loss. The minor victim’s mother was a deployed service member periodically serving overseas at the time of DESCOTEAUX’s crimes.
Despite the 23-year-sentence recommendation, Judge Settle can impose any sentence up to the maximum penalty of life in prison. DESCOTEAUX will be required to register as a sex offender after he is released from prison and could face federal supervision for the rest of his life.
The case was investigated by the Cheyenne Police Department, the FBI, and JBLM- Criminal Investigation Division (CID). The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Louisiana provided substantial assistance.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Grady J. Leupold, who serves as the Military Liaison for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.