ALEXANDRIA, Va. (WRIC) – A federal court in Eastern Virginia has convicted four men from across the country in connection to their use of a child exploitation website.
According to court records, from around September to December 2020, Christopher William Kuehner, 38, of Bremerton, Wash., was a prominent member of the website “Rapey.su.” The site was dedicated to content that included child sexual exploitation. William became a member of the website and then repeatedly enticed minors to create child sexual abuse material for both him and other members of the website.
Alongside Kuehner, 20-year Jacob Royce Mullins of South Webster, Ohio, 43-year-old Kyle William Leishear of Bayonet Point, Fla., and 25-year-old Matthew Martin of Lancaster, Wis., pleaded guilty to their roles in a child exploitation enterprise.
Homeland Security Investigations seized and shut down the Rapey.su website in December 2020.
Kuehner, Mullins and Martin will be sentenced on April 25 and Leishear will be sentenced on May 9. Each of them faces a mandatory minimum of 20 years in prison.
This is not the first time that users of Rapey.su were tried in Virginia. Last year, a federal court in the Eastern District of Virginia convicted Ashley Kolhoff, 22, of Port Clinton, Ohio, for her participation on the website. According to court documents, Kolhoff produced and posted several sexually explicit images of a minor on Rapey.su. In 2022, she faced a mandatory minimum of 15 years in prison.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative from the Department of Justice to combat child sexual exploitation and abuse.
In 2021, the Eastern District of Virginia launched “UnMasked,” a community-based educational outreach and prevention program dedicated to raising awareness about the prevalence of online sexual exploitation of children and young adults.