Self-Styled ‘Sex Slave Trainer’ Ryan Van Stevenson from Lansing Sentenced to 30 Years for Coercing and Enticing a 15-Year-Old Girl Online
GRAND RAPIDS, MI—Ryan Van Stevenson, 33, of Lansing, Michigan, received a 30-year sentence in federal prison on June 25, 2015, for coercing and enticing a minor online from 2012 to 2014. The judge ordered Stevenson to pay approximately $11,000 in restitution to the victim for counseling costs. Stevenson pled guilty in federal court in December 2014 and faced a possible sentence of 10 years to life.
While living with his wife and young children in Lansing in 2012, Stevenson met a 15-year-old girl from Oregon in a chatroom online. Over the next two and a half years, Stevenson molded her into being his “sex slave,” giving her “assignments” to send him pornographic pictures of herself to his e-mail handle of “sexslavetrainer.” Stevenson sent her e-mails about how “slave training is future oriented,” where the slave’s “job is to serve and make me look good.” When she turned 18, Stevenson moved the victim into his family home to fill the role of “sex slave.” It seemed that the teen moved voluntarily and was physically unharmed. The FBI executed a federal search warrant at Stevenson’s house soon thereafter, in August 2014, and found thousands of pornographic images of the victim as a child on Stevenson’s computers. The FBI also found photographs of Stevenson having sex with and molesting another child over a period of at least five years, starting when she was age 13 and Stevenson was 19. Additionally, agents discovered a briefcase filled with CDs of Internet child pornography, screenshots of web camera chats with various other girls between approximately 14 and 17 years old, a large number of baggies containing individual pairs of girls’ or women’s underwear, a package from a now convicted child pornographer with a child’s picture in it, and videos Stevenson took of unknown women and teenage girls from the waist down out in public.
Stevenson told the judge at the sentencing hearing that he was a social misfit in high school, never had many friends, and was looking for acceptance. He could not answer why or how he believed that he could seek such acceptance from a child across the country. In delivering the 30-year sentence, U.S. District Judge Robert Holmes Bell described the offense as “reprehensible” and commented on Stevenson’s “complete lack of respect for the law.”
In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Patrick Miles stated, “The vast reach of the Internet makes it easier than ever before for predators to find, befriend, and groom minors online for sexual behavior without the parents ever knowing. It is important to teach children in our community about the dangers of ‘fantasy’ relationships online, which can become all too real and beyond the child’s control.”
“Online predators have become adept at leveraging the global reach and anonymity of the Internet to identify, contact, and exploit children,” stated Paul M. Abbate, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Detroit Field Office. “It is imperative that parents and loved ones educate children thoroughly regarding the dangers associated with ‘meeting’ strangers online. The FBI and its local, state, and federal law enforcement partners will continue to combat these depraved predators and bring to justice those who use technology to target our youth.”
The federal investigation was conducted by the FBI. Assistant U.S. Attorney Tessa K. Hessmiller prosecuted the case. This case is part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from exploitation and abuse. The U.S. Attorney’s Office; county prosecutor’s offices; and federal, state, and local law enforcement are working closely together to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children. Individuals with information or concerns about possible child exploitation should contact local law enforcement. For more information about Project Safe Childhood in West Michigan, including resources for children and parents, visit: http://www.justice.gov/usao/miw/programs/psc.html.