Justice Department Recognizes Human Trafficking Survivor and Advocate from Washington with Special Courage Award
A 38-year-old Kelso, Washington man was sentenced today to 25 years in prison for production of child pornography, possession of child pornography and distribution of child pornography, announced U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan. JONATHAN SCOTT LEE was arrested in October 2012, after he sent images of child pornography to an undercover officer working in New Zealand. LEE thought he was communicating with someone who could provide him additional images of child pornography. Law enforcement was able to trace the photos to LEE and his camera. They seized his computer and other media storage devices at his Kelso home. Analysis revealed thousands of images and videos of child pornography on his computer, an external hard drive, and his smartphone. He pleaded guilty in September 2013 to taking the sexually explicit images of an 11-year-girl. LEE is required to register as a sex offender and will be on supervised release for the rest of his life following his prison term.
At the sentencing hearing U.S. District Judge Ronald B. Leighton said “the production of child pornography is a despicable activity. Exploiting children is the lowest form of cruelty I can imagine.”
“The production of child pornography—coupled with the physical sexual abuse of children—is a heinous crime with devastating, lifelong impacts on its victims,” said U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan. “Distributing the photos of these children being molested further victimizes them and warrants this significant prison sentence.”
According to records filed in the case, investigators were able to identify three young victims involved in LEE’s production of child pornography. Other images that he possessed were those of victims already identified by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).
“Not only did the defendant abuse children, he shared his exploitation with predators around the world,” said Brad Bench, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Seattle. “HSI places a high priority on combating this despicable crime, not only to identify and rescue child victims, but to stop their re-victimization by individuals who view and distribute Internet child pornography.”
The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigation (HSI) and by the Kelso Police Department. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Marci Ellsworth.