PORTLAND, Ore. — A husband and wife from Aloha, Ore., were sentenced Tuesday to serve 50 years and 45 years respectively in federal prison after pleading guilty to numerous charges related to child pornography, following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
Michael J. Marceau, 43, and Lisa A. Ford, 35, both pleaded guilty this spring in federal court to 12 counts of producing child pornography and 12 counts of being a parent or guardian and allowing a child to be used to produce child pornography. In addition, Marceau pleaded guilty to singular counts of transporting, receiving, and possessing child pornography; Ford pleaded guilty to one count of possessing child pornography.
Marceau and Ford were sentenced Wednesday in Washington County, Ore., District Court on separate state charges stemming from the federal investigation. He received 45 years in prison and she received 42 years after pleading guilty this spring to multiple counts of sodomy, unlawful sexual penetration, first degree rape, first degree sexual abuse, and using a child in a display of sexually explicit conduct. Their state sentences will be served concurrently with their federal sentences.
The couple came to the attention of law enforcement authorities after Marceau exchanged a series of e-mails with an employee of the U.S. Department of the Interior's (DOI) Bureau of Indian Affairs where they discussed the sexual abuse of children and traded illegal images of child pornography. The DOI Office of Inspector General became of aware of the illicit communication and turned the investigation over to HSI.
HSI agents served a federal search warrant at the residence Marceau shared with Ford and Ford's 6-year-old daughter and severely disabled 14-year-old son. During the search, agents found and seized evidence of the production, transportation, receipt, and possession of child pornography.
Ford and Marceau admitted to sexually abusing both children and taking photographs of the abuse. In addition, the investigation revealed that Marceau actively encouraged at least three other men to sexually abuse children and send him photographs of the abuse.
"While we are pleased with the sentences handed down by both courts, the severity of these penalties should not overshadow our concern for these children and the loss of their innocence," said Leigh Winchell, special agent in charge of HSI in the Pacific Northwest. "These predators will never be able to perpetrate their abhorrent behavior again."
"Over and over again we see child pornography traffickers personally abusing defenseless child victims – going beyond looking at images to personally raping and abusing children," said Oregon U.S. Attorney Dwight C. Holton. "Trafficking in child pornography is itself a crime that victimizes children for decades to come – as images are cycled through the Internet again and again. But this is the latest in a series of cases that underscores that production and abuse go hand-in-hand with child pornography trafficking. For that reason, these prosecutions are a top priority for the Department of Justice." Holton cited other recent federal prosecutions in Oregon, including:
- U.S. v. Terence Carpenter: Carpenter, who victimized his daughter, was sentenced to 50 years in prison on April 16, 2010, following his conviction for producing child pornography.
- U.S. v. Mark Allyn Hoffman: Hoffman, who also victimized his children, was sentenced 50 years in prison on November 9, 2009, after pleading guilty to producing child pornography.
- U.S. v. Kenneth John Freeman: Freeman, who victimized his daughter, was prosecuted in Oregon, in the Eastern District of Washington, and in state court in Washington, and was sentenced to 50 years in prison on March 25, 2009, after pleading guilty to production of child pornography.
- U.S. v. Rodney Pelling: Pelling, who victimized his daughter, was prosecuted in federal court, and in Deschutes and Yamhill counties, and was sentenced to 25 years in prison September 10, 2010, after pleading guilty to production of child pornography.
- U.S. v. Donald George: George, who victimized his step-granddaughter, was prosecuted jointly with the Washington County District Attorney's Office, and was sentenced to 25 years in prison December 13, 2010, after pleading guilty to producing child pornography.
- U.S. v. Julius Hexon: Hexon, who victimized a 15-year-old girl he met and enticed online, was sentenced to 20 years in prison October 22, 2009, following convictions for producing child pornography and traveling interstate to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a minor.
- U.S. v. David Clayton Ellis: Ellis, who victimized his step-daughter, was prosecuted jointly with the Washington County District Attorney's Office and sentenced to 20 years in prison in state court, and 18 years in prison in federal court, on November 26, 2007, after pleading guilty to charges of producing child pornography.
"These cases and others like them tell a very clear story: trafficking in child pornography goes hand-in-hand with production of child pornography and the abuse of defenseless children," Holton said. He also noted this investigation alone has resulted in criminal charges being pursued against five separate individuals who sexually abused children and created and traded images of that abuse.
The federal employee who communicated with Marceau and traded images of child pornography with him no longer works for DOI. The case remains under investigation.
The investigation into Ford and Marceau is part of Operation Predator, a nationwide ICE 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. ICE encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE. This hotline is 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.