Fifteen-Year Prison Sentence Closes One Case as Another Case Leads to a Guilty Plea for Two Sacramento Men
|U.S. Attorney’s Office March 06, 2013|
SACRAMENTO, CA—Two recent cases illustrate the effort to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse in the Eastern District of California, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.
Sacramento Man Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison (2:10-cr-00445-01)
Stephen Graeff, 60, of Antelope, was sentenced today by United States District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller to 15 years in prison, to be followed by a lifetime of supervised release, for distributing child pornography.
According to court records, Graeff maintained a collection of approximately 1,020 files of child pornography. He shared and posted the child pornography images from his computer to others on the Internet. Graeff pleaded guilty to distribution of visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct on August 22, 2012. According to court documents, Graeff not only distributed child pornography, but he encouraged another perpetrator to victimize two minor children.
This case was the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigations. Assistant United States Attorney Michelle Prince prosecuted the case.
Sacramento Man Pleads Guilty to Receipt of Child Pornography (2:13-CR-44-JAM)
Ray Laurence Howes, 24, of Sacramento, pleaded guilty yesterday to receiving child pornography.
This case is the product of an investigation by the Sacramento Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, a federally and state-funded task force managed by the Sacramento Sheriff’s Department with agents from federal, state, and local agencies. The Sacramento ICAC investigates online child exploitation crimes, including child pornography, enticement, and sex trafficking. Assistant United States Attorney Kyle Reardon is prosecuting the case. Anyone having information about the case should contact the ICAC Task Force at (916) 874-3003.
According to court documents, in September 2012, the Sacramento ICAC received a tip that Howes had uploaded child pornography to his cloud storage service. A search warrant was obtained and multiple images of child pornography were found. During a subsequent search of Howes’s residence, agents found more images of child pornography on his computer as well as sexually explicit Yahoo chats with individuals identifying themselves as minors. Howes also possessed non-pornographic digital pictures of minors taken surreptitiously by him at local schools and playgrounds; some of the pictures focused on the children’s clothed midsections.
Howes is scheduled to be sentenced by United States District Judge John A. Mendez June 11, 2013. He faces five to 20 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and five years to life of supervised release. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. Howes will also be required to register as a sex offender under the federal Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA).
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute those who sexually exploit children and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc. Click on the “Rsources” tab for information about Internet safety education.