CLARKSTON – Senior United States District Judge Rosanna Malouf Peterson sentenced Justin James Krasselt, age 27, of Clarkston, Washington, to over 273 months in federal prison today for Production of Child Pornography.
When combined with the time Krasselt has been in state custody since his arrest, the result is a 25-year prison sentence. At the conclusion of his prison term, Krasselt will spend the rest of his life on federal supervision. Senior Judge Peterson also imposed financial assessments aimed at victim compensation in the amount of $8,000. Krasselt entered a guilty plea on June 7, 2022.
According to court documents, Krasselt shared child pornography within a public chat group on the Kik messaging application in June 2020. An undercover Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agent captured the child pornography posted and observed that one of the videos appeared to be produced by Krasselt. Days later, on June 16, 2020, law enforcement executed a federal search warrant at Krasselt’s Clarkston, Washington, residence. There, agents seized electronic devices, including Krasselt’s phone.
When interviewed by law enforcement, Krasselt admitted to using Kik on his phone and to sending and receiving sexually exploitative images of minors. The investigation and forensic review of Krasselt’s phone, however, revealed that Krasselt had done more than send and receive child pornography. Investigators found ten sexually exploitative videos that Krasselt recorded of an 8-year old girl. During a separate investigation, images and videos of this young child were discovered as far away as Dandenong, Victoria, Australia. A review of the electronic devices in Australia revealed a Kik chat between the foreign suspect and Krasselt. The devices in Australia also contained images and videos depicting Krasselt’s victim, which Krasselt sent through Kik.
“It is chilling how common internet messaging applications like Kik can be used to exploit the most vulnerable among us and how exploitive images can quickly be spread across the world through social media,” U.S. Attorney Vanessa R. Waldref stated. “Parents, teachers, conscious members of our community, and law enforcement must work together to ensure that social media applications are not misused to harm children. Today’s sentence should serve as a warning to those who victimize children through social media and otherwise: Our office is committed to prioritizing and aggressively pursuing cases involving child predators and holding them accountable for victimizing the most innocent members of our community.”
Assistant United States Attorney Ann T. Wick, who prosecuted the case, stated, “The victim’s mother said it best in her written statement to Senior Judge Peterson: ‘[Krasselt] took away something from a child that shouldn’t [have] been taken.’” AUSA Wick continued, “While the criminal justice system cannot give it back, the sentence today removed a predator from the streets and ensured that the victim can spend the rest of her childhood free of the man who harmed her.”
“Children are our most vulnerable population, and law enforcement must ensure that those who exploit children are held accountable to the fullest extent,” said Special Agent in Charge Robert Hammer, who oversees HSI operations in the Pacific Northwest. He continued, “Advances in technology have emboldened child predators to perpetuate their crimes with ease and share illicit material across the internet. Today’s twenty-five year sentence sends a strong message that child exploitation will not be tolerated. We also hope that this sentence brings some measure of peace to the family.”
This case was pursued as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the United States 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. The Project Safe Childhood Initiative (“PSC”) has five major components:
- Integrated federal, state, and local efforts to investigate and prosecute child exploitation cases, and to identify and rescue children;
- Participation of PSC partners in coordinated national initiatives;
- Increased federal enforcement in child pornography and enticement cases;
- Training of federal, state, and local law enforcement agents; and
- Community awareness and educational programs.
In a separate, but related investigation, Krasselt pleaded guilty in Asotin County, Washington, Case No. 20-1-00056-02, to three counts of child molestation in the first degree. On November 16, 2020, Krasselt was sentenced to 12 years in state prison in the Asotin County case.
The federal case was investigated by the Department of Homeland Security – Criminal Investigations, with assistance from the Clarkston Police Department and Moscow, ID, Police Department. This case was prosecuted by Ann T. Wick, Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington.