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Tualatin man sentenced to 18 years in prison for child pornography

A Tualatin man who pleaded guilty last year to charges of making and distributing child pornography was sentenced last week.

Rodger Lee Strampher, 30, appeared Feb. 11 in Portland’s federal court. Senior U.S. District Judge Ancer L. Haggerty handed down a prison sentence of 18 years, a term recommended by both the prosecution and the defense.

Strampher was facing a maximum statutory conviction of 30 years, but a sentence of that length is actually rare, federal prosecutor Stacie F. Beckerman explained in a statement issued to The Times through the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon.

Using U.S. Federal Sentencing Guidelines, Beckerman weighed Strampher’s lack of prior criminal history, and the fact the offense did not include continuing criminal conduct, against the nature of Strampher’s crime, which she characterized as “repugnant” in a three-page government sentencing memo filed Feb. 5.

Beckerman called for an additional 20-year supervised release term, writing that the nature of the offense itself and “the age of (Strampher’s) victim…demonstrates that (Strampher) will continue to pose a risk to children when he is released from confinement.”

In a defense memo filed Feb. 6, Strampher’s attorney Andrew M. Kohlmetz recommended this sentencing by acknowledging his client’s “exceptionally series crime” and noted that Strampher’s case would serve “as a powerful deterrent to others and will incapacitate the defendant himself for an exceptional period of time.”

Kohlmetz requested that Strampher be housed at the Sheridan correctional facility.

Electronic footprints

An affidavit filed May 11, 2011, detailed the investigation that led to Strampher’s arrest later that month. Special Agent Josh Findley of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security authored the report in support of his application for a warrant to search Strampher’s residence in the 19300 block of 65th Avenue in Tualatin, as well as a warrant to access a Yahoo! email account belonging to Strampher’s wife, Chrystal Dietrich. Findley believed Strampher had used Dietrich’s account to exchange child pornography with Aloha couple Michael Marceau and Lisa Ford, who have since been sentenced to 50 years and 45 years in prison, respectively. Both Marceau and Ford were found guilty on a number of child pornography charges, and on charges of sexual abuse against Ford’s two young children.

Among Marceau’s recovered personal computer files were five images depicting the abuse of a “toddler-aged female child,” Findley wrote in the affidavit. A digital forensic specialist used metadata embedded in the image files to determine the photos had been taken by an Apple iPhone and time-stamped between 9:05 and 9:17 p.m. on March 2, 2009. An investigation by Ford’s public defender, Lisa Hay, revealed geographic coordinates that showed the photos had been taken within 0.3 miles of Strampher’s residence in Fairview.

Through interviews conducted with Marceau in March 2011, and with Ford in May 2011, Findley recreated a timeline of the couple’s relationship with Strampher. In his affidavit, Findley quoted email transcripts from Marceau’s Gmail account to show that Strampher first contacted Marceau on Jan. 28, 2009, in response to Marceau’s Craigslist post seeking another couple for sexual relations.

Emails from the same day show that Marceau first received messages signed by both Strampher and Dietrich, but through profiling, Findley wrote that he determined Strampher alone authored emails to Marceau.

Transcripts show that Strampher and Marceau had revealed their “predatory sexual interest in children” that same day, Findley wrote. Both expressed desire for children as young as 5 years old, and Marceau offered and sent three sexually explicit photos of a child Findley believed to be Marceau’s stepdaughter.

Past trauma leads to prison

As part of a plea agreement dated June 25, 2012, Strampher admitted guilt and said the child he used in pornographic images was about 3 or 4 years old. Findley wrote that the victim had been in Strampher’s care at the time of the offense.

In his defense memo, Kohlmetz tried to establish Strampher as an individual whose early history of physical and sexual trauma had left him with “reduced capacity to make rational and appropriate decisions,” made worse by Strampher’s “acute and long-term drug and alcohol dependencies.”

Strampher claimed he began drinking when he was 12, Kohlmetz wrote, and was using alcohol daily by the time he was 15. At the time of his offense in 2009, Strampher claimed he was consuming up to a half gallon of alcohol daily, and that he used cocaine every 15 to 20 minutes during the day.

In arguing for an 18-year sentence with a 10-year supervised release term, Kohlmetz asked the court to consider evidence of Strampher’s remorse prior to law enforcement’s discovery of his crime: By March 9, 2009, Strampher was avoiding contact with Marceau and Ford in an attempt to end the relationship, Kohlmetz wrote.

“The truth of the matter is that Mr. Strampher already recognized the serious and deviant nature of his conduct in photographing (the victim),” Kohlmetz concluded. “Without the intervention of authorities, Mr. Strampher recognized the wrongfulness of his conduct and took steps to ensure he did not repeat his behavior.”



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