A federal court convicted a Washington state man yesterday for engaging in a child exploitation enterprise.
According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Christopher William Kuehner, 38, of Bremerton, was a prominent member of the website “Rapey.su,” which was dedicated to, among other things, child sexual exploitation. After becoming a member of the website, Kuehner repeatedly induced and enticed minor girls to produce child sexual abuse material for both him and the other members of the website.
In a related case last year, a federal court in the Eastern District of Virginia also convicted Ashley Kolhoff, 22, of Port Clinton, Ohio, of production of child pornography for her participation on the Rapey.su website. Other users around the country have been prosecuted successfully in state and federal courts for their conduct committed on the website.
Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents seized and shut down the website in December 2020.
Kuehner was convicted of engaging in a child exploitation enterprise. He is scheduled to be sentenced on April 25. Co-conspirators Jacob Royce Mullins, 20, of South Webster, Ohio; Kyle William Leishear, 43, of Bayonet Point, Florida; and Matthew Martin, 25, of Lancaster, Wisconsin, pleaded guilty to their roles in the enterprise. Mullins and Martin are both scheduled to be sentenced on April 25. Leishear is scheduled to be sentenced on May 9. They each face a mandatory minimum of 20 years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Jessica D. Aber for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Acting Special Agent in Charge Derek W. Gordon of HSI Washington, D.C. made the announcement.
HSI Washington, D.C. investigated the case.
Trial Attorney Whitney Kramer of the Justice Department’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Seth Schlessinger for the Eastern District of Virginia are prosecuting the case.
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 U.S. Attorney’s Offices and the 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.