A former GOP staffer and ex-Trump aide who called baby sex abuse his “absolute favorite” has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for receiving child pornography.
Ruben Verastigui of Washington, DC, pleaded guilty to charges of having 162 videos and more than 50 images of child pornography on his phone in July 2021. A federal judge on Thursday sentenced Verastigui to 151 months in prison, followed by five years of surveillance Liberation. He will have to register as a sex offender for at least 15 years.
Verastigui, 29, was active in an online group with at least 18 members dedicated to trading child pornography and discussing child sexual abuse, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ). Verastigui shared child pornography videos with another member of the group and made numerous comments about child sexual abuse.
Verastigui told the group his preference was for babies, saying they were his “absolute favorites”, and solicited another member of the group for videos of babies being raped, according to court documents.
“The other member of the group promptly sent Verastigui a video of a baby being raped, to which Verastigui responded enthusiastically,” court documents say. “The other member of the group then sent Verastigui numerous other videos of child pornography to Verastigui, including depictions of adults performing oral sex on babies.”
Former President Donald Trump’s former campaign aide commented on the videos saying he “wish they were longer”.
Verastigui admitted to being part of the group with the display name “Landon” and the handle “@somethingtaken” when Department of Homeland Security agents executed a search warrant at his apartment in February.
Verastigui was arrested on February 5, the day of the search warrant, and has been detained since, according to the DOJ.
Verastigui worked as digital director for the Joint Economic Committee from 2018 to 2019 and as digital strategist for the Senate Republican Conference from 2019 to 2020. He was previously a senior designer for the Republican National Committee, where he created digital advertisements for the Trump’s re-election. countryside.
In 2020, there were 618,399 victims of child abuse in the United States. Most of the reported cases were in young children, with 136,600 victims aged one year or younger, and another 150,673 victims were between 2 and 5 years old, according to Statista. .
Homeland Security Investigations’ Child Exploitation Investigations Unit rescued 1,177 child victims in child exploitation investigations in 2021. The unit arrested 3,776 people for crimes involving the sexual exploitation of children and helped obtain more than 1,500 convictions.
To report information about a missing or exploited child, call the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children hotline at 1-800-THE-LOST(1-800-843-5678).