Justice Department Recognizes Human Trafficking Survivor and Advocate from Washington with Special Courage Award
A 47-year old Olympia, Washington man who was convicted in May 2014, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to 15 years in prison for production and possession of child pornography, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes. MICHAEL T. LAURSEN was found guilty by U.S. District Judge Robert J. Bryan following a two day bench trial. Evidence at trial revealed that LAURSEN supplied a 16-year-old with drugs and photographed her in sexually explicit conduct. Judge Bryan imposed 10 years of supervised release following prison.
“This defendant betrayed the trust of a vulnerable young woman, claiming he would help and protect her when it really was just a ploy to exploit her,” said Acting U. S Attorney Annette L. Hayes. “He persisted in blocking the efforts of her family to get her into drug treatment and law enforcement officers investigating the crime. This 15 year prison sentence with ten years of federal supervision to follow will protect other vulnerable members of the community.”
According to records filed in the case, the victim was known to LAURSEN through her relatives. She first met LAURSEN when she was 12-years-old. After she turned 16 years old in 2012, LAURSEN initiated a sexual relationship with her, supplied her with drugs, and encouraged her to miss school. In June 2012 and October 2012, LAURSEN took photographs of the victim, including photographs of his sexual conduct with her. LAURSEN encouraged the victim to run away from home, and then had her stay with him in motel rooms, apartments, and other person’s homes. He directed her to engage in sexually explicit acts while he took photographs.
“This joint federal, state and local agency investigation illustrates the lengths to which law enforcement will go to bring a child predator to justice,” said Brad Bench, special agent in charge of HSI Seattle. “Now, with this federal sentence, the public can rest assured Laursen will spend more than a decade behind bars with close federal monitoring to follow.”
The case was investigated by the Washington State Patrol-Missing and Exploited Children’s Task Force, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)-South Sound Investigative Task Force, Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Ye-Ting Woo and Seth Wilkinson.