District Man Sentenced to 151 Months in Prison for Receipt of Child Pornography

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

            WASHINGTON – Ruben Verastigui, 29, of Washington, D.C., was sentenced today to 151 months in prison on a federal charge of receipt of child pornography.

            The announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves, Raymond Villanueva, Special Agent in Charge, Washington, D.C. Field Office, Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and Robert J. Contee III, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).

            Verastigui pleaded guilty on July 9, 2021, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. He was sentenced by the Honorable Amit P. Mehta. Upon completion of his prison term, Verastigui will be placed on five years of supervised release. He also will be required to register as a sex offender for at least 15 years.

            According to the government’s evidence, from April 2020 through February 2021, Verastigui was active in an online group devoted to trading child pornography and discussing child sexual abuse. Verastigui shared child pornography videos with another member of the group and made numerous comments about sexually abusing children. Verastigui indicated his preference for babies, saying they were his “absolute favorite,” and solicited another group member for videos of babies being raped. The other group member promptly sent Verastigui a video of a baby being raped, to which Verastigui responded enthusiastically. The other group member then sent Verastigui numerous other videos of child pornography.

            Verastigui was arrested on Feb. 5, 2021. He has been in custody ever since.

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            This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. 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 individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.

            In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Graves, Special Agent in Charge Villanueva, and Chief Contee commended the work of those who investigated the case from Homeland Security Investigations and the Metropolitan Police Department. Finally, they expressed appreciation for the work of Assistant U.S. Attorney Caroline Burrell and former Assistant U.S. Attorney April Russo, who prosecuted the case.