POSSESSION OF CHILD PORNOGRAPHY LEADS TO 6 YEAR PRISON SENTENCE FOR FAIRVIEW HEIGHTS MAN

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

BENTON,  Ill.  –  A  Fairview  Heights  man  is  heading  to  federal  prison  for  possession  of  
child pornography. Michael M. Rapa, 68, of Fairview Heights, Illinois, was sentenced on Thursday, 
June 2, 2022, to 6 years in prison for two counts of possession of prepubescent child pornography 
and one count of possession of child pornography. Rapa pleaded guilty to the charges in February. 
Following his prison sentence, Rapa will be on federal supervised release for 5 years and will be 
required to register as a sex offender for the remainder of his life.

According to court documents, Rapa first came to the attention of law enforcement in Vancouver, 
Canada, in 2015. As the result of a subsequent investigation conducted by the U.S. Department of 
Homeland Security and the Fairview Heights Police Department, in 2017 Rapa was determined to be in 
possession of hundreds of image and video files containing prepubescent child pornography on 
various items of electronic media which lead to charges in the Southern District of Illinois.

“There  is  something  profoundly  wrong  with  an  individual  who  derives  sexual  gratification 
 from seeing  children  being  raped,”  said  U.S.  Attorney  Steven  D.  Weinhoeft.  “Law  
enforcement  must confront this evil because, to paraphrase Mahatma Gandhi, a true measure of 
society can be found in how it protects its most vulnerable members.”

“One of the most horrific things an individual can do is seek to harm a child,” said acting Special 
Agent in Charge of the Kansas City area of operations R. Sean Fitzgerald. “I couldn’t be prouder of 
the HSI special agents and analysts, in coordination with our law enforcement partners, who have 
dedicated their lives to removing these predators from our community.”

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in 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.usdoj.gov/psc.   For more information about internet safety education, 
please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab “resources.”
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Karelia Rajagopal and Ali Summers.