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Child Exploitation
05/08/2012

Pennsylvania couple sentenced on child exploitation, pornography charges

HARRISBURG, Pa. — A New Oxford, Pa., couple was sentenced Tuesday to a total of 60 years in prison on sexual exploitation of a child and child pornography charges. The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), with assistance from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, FBI and officers from the Pennsylvania State Police Mobile Computer Crime Lab.

Michael Strausbaugh, 31, was sentenced to 45 years in prison, followed by a lifetime of supervised release. He was also fined $3,500. His wife, Rebecca Strausbaugh, 33, was sentenced to 15 years in prison followed by five years of supervised releases. She was fined $1,200.

The couple was charged with three counts of sexual exploitation of a child. Michael Strausbaugh was also charged with distribution and possession of child pornography.

The charges stemmed from an investigation and arrest of a Canadian individual who received a sexual explicit image of an infant less than a year old from Michael Strausbaugh. The Strausbaughs were subsequently arrested at their home and went to trial in October 2011.

According to court documents, Michael Strausbaugh, aided by his wife, engaged in sexually explicit conduct with an infant in their care. They produced photographs of the conduct on at least four separate occasions. Michael Strausbaugh then distributed these images over the Internet.

During the time the images were taken, Michael Strausbaugh was on probation on state charges of indecent assault on a minor. His wife, Rebecca, had taken classes to serve as his approved supervisor to monitor his interaction with children and ensure his compliance with the conditions of his probation.

"Sexual predators exploit and abuse our children for their own personal gratification," said John P. Kelleghan, special agent in charge of HSI Philadelphia. "Today's sentencing again demonstrates that HSI and our law enforcement partners will not tolerate this behavior and will use every tool at our disposal to stop them in their tracks."

This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide HSI initiative to protect children from sexual predators, including those who travel overseas for sex with minors, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders and child sex traffickers. HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators. Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.