Illinois man receives 6-year child pornography prison sentence following joint HSI investigation
SAINT LOUIS – A Fairview Heights, Illinois, man is heading to federal prison for possession of child pornography following a joint Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and law enforcement partner investigation. Michael M. Rapa, 68, was sentenced June 2, to six years in prison for two counts of possession of prepubescent child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography.
Following his prison sentence, Rapa, who pleaded guilty to the charges in February, will be on federal supervised release for five years and will be required to register as a sex offender for the remainder of his life.
According to court documents, Rapa first came to the attention of law enforcement in Vancouver, Canada, in 2015. As the result of a subsequent investigation conducted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Fairview Heights Police Department in 2017, Rapa was determined to be in possession of hundreds of image and video files containing prepubescent child pornography on various items of electronic media which lead to charges in the Southern District of Illinois.
“There is something profoundly wrong with an individual who derives sexual gratification from seeing children being raped,” said U.S. Attorney Steven D. Weinhoeft. “Law enforcement must confront this evil because, to paraphrase Mahatma Gandhi, a true measure of society can be found in how it protects its most vulnerable members.”
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in 2006 by the 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. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc. For more information about internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab “resources.”
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Karelia Rajagopal and Ali Summers.
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HSI is a directorate of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the principal investigative arm of DHS, responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel, and finance move. HSI’s workforce of over 10,400 employees consists of more than 7,100 special agents assigned to 220 cities throughout the United States, and 80 overseas locations in 53 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’s largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.