U.S. Attorney's Office
Western District of Washington
(206) 553-7970
June 5, 2015

Former JBLM Soldier Sentenced to 25 Years in Prison for Skyping Rape of Young Child

A former active duty military member from Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to 25 years in prison and lifetime supervised release for Production of Child Pornography, and Distribution of Child Pornography, announced U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes. JOSEPH THOMAS FRENCH, 29, who resided in Florida prior to enlisting in the Army, was arrested in February 2014 and pleaded guilty March 12, 2015. At the sentencing hearing U.S. District Judge Ronald B. Leighton said, “This is a very serious and tragic offense…. An offense that should be punished heavily.”

“Words cannot adequately express the horror of the conduct at issue in this case,” said U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes. “Beyond the abuse itself, the fact that some people used technology to watch the conduct while it was on-going—without doing anything to stop it—is a fact that cannot be forgotten or ignored.”

According to records filed in the case, a young child disclosed to her parent in February 2014, that FRENCH had repeatedly raped her from the age of seven. The abuse occurred between September 2012 and July 2013. The rapes occurred on JBLM property and FRENCH recorded some of the assaults. Further, FRENCH committed some of the assaults while other people watched the rapes via Skype. Within days FRENCH was arrested and has been in state or federal custody ever since.

The case was investigated by the FBI and the Washington State Patrol’s Missing and Exploited Children Task Force. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kate Vaughan.

Press contact for the U.S. Attorney’s Office is Public Affairs Officer Emily Langlie at (206) 553-4110 or Emily.Langlie@usdoj.gov.

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