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United States of America v. Moeun Yoeun
Case Number: 3:19-cr-05148
Court: United States District Court for the Western District of Washington (Pierce County)
Plaintiff's Attorney: United States Attorney’s Office in Tacoma
Description: criminal defense lawyer represented Defendant charged with sex trafficking, producing child sexual abuse images and traveling to sexually abuse children
A former Staff Sergeant stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to 22 years in prison for sex trafficking children, producing images of child sexual abuse, and traveling to sexually abuse children. Moeun Yoeun, 40, of Steilacoom, Washington, pleaded guilty in August 2022, admitting that young girls in the Philippines were threatened with death if they refused his sexual assaults. At the sentencing hearing U.S. District Judge Benjamin H. Settle called the crimes “vicious, heinous, and cruel.”
“Mr. Yoeun weaponized his position of trust as a noncommissioned officer in the United States Army, to sexually exploit and cause irreversible trauma to impoverished girls in the Philippines,” said U.S. Attorney Nick Brown. “He cruelly threatened their lives if they tried to flee from his violent sexual assaults. This lengthy sentence is necessary to deter Mr. Yoeun and others who prey on children.”
In his plea agreement, Yoeun admitted to, over the course of several years, using adult and child residents of the Philippines to recruit more than a dozen other children to produce pornography. Yoeun further admitted to travelling to the Philippines and engaging in sexual acts with at least 6 children in exchange for nominal amounts of money.
Prosecutors cited numerous studies showing the long-term damage suffered by child sex abuse victims, concluding, ”[f]urther research only confirmed and expanded upon this emerging understanding of these insidious effects of childhood sexual trauma. Studies now tell us that the numerous child victims in this case, as a direct consequence of the Defendant’s violent sexual attacks, will face an elevated risk of alcohol abuse, illicit drug use, sexual promiscuity, and suicide.”
Yoeun will be required to register as a sex offender after he is released from prison and will be on federal supervision for 15 years.
The FBI and U.S. Army CID, with the assistance of the Philippine National Police, investigated this case as part of the South Sound Child Exploitation Task Force. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Grady J. Leupold and Matthew P. Hampton.
Travel with Intent to Engage in Illicit Sexual Conduct - 18:2423(b),(e)
Aggravated Sexual Abuse of a Child Under 12 - 18:2241(c) and 2246(2)
Possession of Child Pornography - 18:2252(a)(4)(B), (b)(2)
Outcome: 02/16/2023 95 Minute Entry for SENTENCING held on 2/16/2023 for Moeun Yoeun before Judge Benjamin H. Settle- CRD: Mary Trent; AUSA: Matthew Hampton for Grady Leupold; Def Cnsl: Ralph Hurvitz; USPO: Blake Gjefle; Court Reporter: Angela Nicolavo; Time of Hearing: 11:00 AM; Courtroom: E; Court hears recommendations from counsel, probation and defendant and imposes sentence. Counts 1s, 2s, 3s = 264 months imprisonment with placement at FCI Petersburg or other facility with sex offender management program recommended; 15 years supervised released with mandatory, standard and special conditions; $300 special assessment. Defendant advised of appeal rights and remanded to custody. (MET) (Entered: 02/16/2023)
02/16/2023 96 JUDGMENT as to Moeun Yoeun. Signed by Judge Benjamin H. Settle. (cc: USPO, PTS, FLU, Fin., USMO, Sea Tac Det) (MET) (Entered: 02/16/2023)
02/16/2023 97 MINUTE ORDER granting 88 , 90 Motions to Seal Document as to Moeun Yoeun. Entered at the direction of Judge Benjamin H. Settle. (MET) (Entered: 02/16/2023)