A registered sex offender, who was on state probation following a 10-year prison sentence for molesting a young boy, was sentenced this week to 10 years in federal prison for possession of child pornography, announced U.S. Attorney Nick Brown.
John Wesley Stewart, 56, was arrested in May 2018 in Des Moines, when officers with the Washington State Department of Corrections found him with unauthorized electronic devices. The devices had more than 200 images of child rape and abuse. U.S. District Judge Ricardo S. Martinez imposed lifetime supervised release to follow this prison term.
“Mr. Stewart has repeatedly demonstrated that he cannot safely live in the community and will continue to victimize children.” said U.S. Attorney Nick Brown. “This ten-year sentence and lifetime of federal supervision are aimed at protecting the community.”
According to records filed in the case, in 2007, Stewart was prosecuted for molesting a young boy left in his care. Prior to being charged with that crime, Stewart had served as a volunteer firefighter and emergency medical technician and paramedic in Whatcom County. He had also served as a foster parent. Following his 2007 conviction for rape of a child and possession of child pornography, Stewart was incarcerated until 2016. He was placed on state probation for life. Within six months of completing sex offender treatment, he was caught with hundreds of images of child sexual abuse.
In asking for the ten-year sentence prosecutors wrote to the court, “Child pornography offenses are, by their nature, horrific. Those who collect and share images and videos of children being raped and tortured further a market that thrives on the sexual abuse of children. The collection of this material drive demand for new material and normalize horrific acts of sexual exploitation. And it subjects victims of child abuse to perpetual re-victimization, knowing that the digital record of their worst moments forever travels the globe to satisfy the sexual appetite of child predators.”
Stewart has been ordered to pay $6,000 in restitution to the known victims pictured in the images on his devices.
The case was investigated by the Washington State Department of Corrections and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Cecelia Gregson.