Sexual Exploitation of Minors

Sexual Exploitation of Minors

Porterville Man Pleads Guilty to Sexual Exploitation of Minors
Plea Agreement Calls for 120-Year Prison Sentence
FRESNO, CA—United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced that Steven Patrick Arthur, 33, of Porterville, pled guilty today before Senior United States District Judge Oliver W. Wanger to four counts of sexual exploitation of a minor.

This case is the result of an investigation by the Porterville Police Department with assistance from the Fresno office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney David Gappa is prosecuting the case.

According to court documents, between September 2007 and January 2008, Arthur and his co-defendant Jennifer Thurman had at least temporary custody, care, or supervisory control over four minors at their residence in Tulare County. The defendants administered the tranquilizer Ativan to the four minors by placing it in Oreo cookies or drinks that were then given to the minors. Once the minors were unconscious, the defendants produced still and video images of each other engaged in sexually explicit conduct with the victims. At least one image depicted violence and several others depicted sexual acts. Some of the images were then transferred to a computer or to compact digital video discs.

Each count carries a possible sentence of 15 to 30 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and a lifetime term of supervised release. The plea agreement requests that the court impose a federal prison sentence of 120 years for Arthur. If the court accepts the agreement, this sentencing recommendation will be binding upon the court. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory sentencing factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.

Arthur and Thurman still each face multiple felony charges resulting from an indictment in the California Superior Court, Tulare County. Those cases will be resolved at the conclusion of the federal cases against Arthur and Thurman. Sentencing for Thurman is on December 17, 2010, at 1:30 p.m. Sentencing for Arthur is scheduled for December 13, 2010 at 1:30 p.m.



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