SEATTLE, WASHINGTON – A 68-year old SeaTac, Washington man was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to 10 years in prison and 15 years of supervised release for possession of images of child rape and abuse, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Tessa M. Gorman. Michael David Mathisen pleaded guilty in October 2020. At today’s sentencing hearing, Judge Richard A. Jones noted that people such as Mathisen create the market for child pornography, and that the creation of the images damages the most vulnerable among us. “These young victims do a life sentence,” Judge Jones said.
Mathisen was contacted by law enforcement in October 2019, following a referral from Microsoft to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) that the account, later linked to Mathisen, was uploading images and searching on the internet for images of children engaged in sexually explicit conduct. The King County Sheriff’s Office and Homeland Security Investigations obtained Mathisen’s electronic devices. A search of the electronic devices revealed nineteen files with images of children being sexually molested and abused. Mathisen has convictions in 1984 and 1994 for sexually molesting children under the age of nine.
The case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc
The Internet Crimes against Children Task Force led by the Seattle Police Department coordinated the investigation. The King County Sheriff’s Office and Homeland Security Investigations completed the Mathisen investigation.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Cecelia Gregson.