An Indiana man was sentenced to more than 34 years in prison on Tuesday for driving to Colorado to have sex with a minor and will serve the rest of his life on supervised probation.
Steven Raines, 35, of Fort Wayne, Ind., was arrested June 30 in Rifle after a three-month investigation and then was indicted in July by a federal grand jury. He pleaded guilty in October to attempted coercion and enticement (to engage in unlawful sexual activity with a minor child), and distribution of child pornography.
The investigation began when Raines began chatting online with a person he thought was a single mother of two girls under the age of 16. He was actually conversing with an undercover Homeland Security agent in Glenwood Springs, according to a U.S. attorney’s office press release.
“The agent entered a chat room, accessible by anyone, whose topic focused on sex with children,” the release says. “While in the chat room, the undercover agent engaged in a chat with an individual who expressed interest in having sex with [her] and the two minor children.
“The individual went on to say that he had been searching for 20 years for someone like the [agent] who would provide sexual access to her children.”
Raines told the officer that “he discovered he was a ‘pedo’ when he was 15,” the release says. “He also said that he had been previously accused of molesting a child ...”
He eventually sent photos that included child pornography and made plans to travel to Colorado in order to rape the children. His main interest was a girl who was supposedly under the age of 6, the release says.
“During the communications between Raines and the agent he made statements about both of his children, and about sexually molesting a minor child to whom he had access, and that he produced images of child pornography of his sexual abuse of that child.”
En route to Colorado, Raines’ van broke down in California, authorities said, and he rented a car to complete the journey to a Rifle home. He was arrested there, and there were 130 images and 84 videos of child pornography on his cell phone, the release says. He had in his home various discs of similar material.
“Sexually exploiting children carries extraordinarily severe penalties — decades in prison, followed by a life term of supervised release,” U.S. Attorney John Walsh said in the release, calling it a top priority for his office.
Raines was immediately remanded into custody to be taken to prison.
The Garfield County Sheriff’s Office assisted in the investigation.