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Press Release

Former Vancouver, Washington Resident Sentenced To 12 Years In Prison For Distributing Pictures Of Child Rape

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Washington
Defendant Currently Serving State Sentence For Attempted Child Molestation

A former Vancouver, Washington man who has served three years in state prison for attempted child molestation, was sentenced to an additional 12 years in federal prison for distributing pictures and videos of children being raped, announced U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan.  JOSEPH SCHESSO, 36, was indicted in 2011 by a federal grand jury for production of child pornography, distribution of child pornography, receipt of child pornography and possession of child pornography.  Following a lengthy series of appeals regarding search warrants executed in the case, SCHESSO pleaded guilty to distribution of child pornography.  Today’s twelve year sentence runs consecutive to the three years SCHESSO has spent in prison on the state charge, resulting in a total of 15 years imprisonment.  At sentencing U.S. District Judge Robert J. Bryan said “These crimes carry long sentences, but they are appropriate under the circumstances.”

According to records filed in the case, SCHESSO first came to the attention of authorities when investigators in Germany discovered an individual in the U.S. distributing child pornography through a file-sharing program.  The information was passed from German law enforcement to investigators with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), who traced the computer’s internet protocol address to SCHESSO’s residence.  In June 2010, agents executed a search warrant on SCHESSO’s Vancouver home.  Investigators found more than 3,400 images and 632 movie files of child pornography on SCHESSO’s computers.  They also located a media card for a digital camera.  Forensic examination of the media card revealed sexually explicit photos of a young child.  Further examination revealed furniture and blankets in the photos were at SCHESSO’s home.  The child was later identified as someone who had visited SCHESSO’s home.

On November 28, 2012, SCHESSO was sentenced in Clark County Superior Court to 40 months to life in prison for attempted child molestation. 

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

The case was investigated by ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Marci Ellsworth.

Updated March 9, 2015