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Child Exploitation
05/14/2014

Washington man who preyed on teen girl convicted of child exploitation

TACOMA, Wash. — An Olympia man who supplied a 16-year-old girl with drugs and photographed her in sexually explicit conduct was found guilty by a federal judge late Tuesday of possession and production child pornography.

The two-day bench trial of Michael T. Laursen, 47, came as a result of a multiagency investigation, including U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). Laursen now faces up to 30 years in prison, with a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years.

According to records filed in the case, Laursen first met his victim when she was 12-years-old through her relatives. In 2012, after she turned 16, Laursen initiated a sexual relationship with her. He also supplied her with drugs and encouraged the victim to run away from home. He then had her stay with him at various locations, while also directing her to engage in sexually explicit acts and taking photographs of her.

Sentencing is scheduled for August 8 before U.S. District Judge Robert J. Bryan in Tacoma.

In addition to HSI, the case was investigated by the Washington State Patrol's Missing and Exploited Children Task Force, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms and the FBI. The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Washington is prosecuting the case.

This investigation was conducted under HSI's Operation Predator, an international initiative to protect children from sexual predators. Since the launch of Operation Predator in 2003, HSI has arrested more than 10,000 individuals for crimes against children, including the production and distribution of online child pornography, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking of children. In fiscal year 2013, more than 2,000 individuals were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative.

HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free Tip Line 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 & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-THE-LOST.

For additional information about wanted suspected child predators, download HSI's Operation Predator smartphone app or visit the online suspect alerts page.