Porterville Man Sentenced to 120 Years in Prison for Sexual Exploitation of Minors
|U.S. Attorney’s Office December 13, 2010|
FRESNO, CA—United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced that Senior United States District Judge Oliver W. Wanger today sentenced Steven Patrick Arthur, 34, of Porterville, to 120 years in prison for sexual exploitation of a minor. Should Arthur ever be released from federal prison, he will be subject to a lifetime term of supervised release.
This was the maximum possible punishment for the four counts of conviction. Federal prisoners must serve at least 85 percent of any prison sentence imposed, and there is no parole in the federal prison system.
In imposing this sentence, Judge Wanger noted the tremendous impact the crimes had on the victims and their families, some of whom addressed the court today. He acknowledged that since Congress has made child sexual exploitation laws one of its highest priorities, the sentence in this case needed to be appropriately long and severe.
U.S. Attorney Wagner stated, “The sexual exploitation of children is completely intolerable and, as this case demonstrates, will be vigorously investigated and prosecuted. The punishment in this case fits the defendant’s horrendous conduct.”
This case is the result of an investigation by the Porterville Police Department with assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Tulare County District Attorney’s Office. Assistant United States Attorney David Gappa prosecuted the case.
According to court documents, between September 2007, and January 2008, Jennifer Thurman and Steven Arthur administered the tranquilizer Ativan to four minors who were staying at their house. They placed the drug in Oreo cookies or drinks and then gave it to the minors. Once the minors were unconscious, the defendants produced still and video images of each defendant engaged in sexually explicit conduct with the minors. Both defendants filmed each other engaging in sexually explicit conduct with the minors. At least one image depicted violence. Many of the images were then transferred to a computer or to compact disks.
Thurman’s sentencing is set for February 11, 2011. Arthur and Thurman face multiple felony charges resulting from an indictment in the Tulare County Superior Court.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood (PSC), a nationwide initiative by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, PSC mobilizes federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information, visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov or call the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California and ask to speak with the PSC coordinator.