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Ex-GOP Senate staffer sentenced to more than 12 years in child porn case

A former GOP Senate staffer has been sentenced to more than a decade in prison after pleading guilty in a case involving child pornography.

A federal judge sentenced Ruben Verastigui, 29, of Washington, D.C., on Thursday to 151 months in prison on a federal charge of receipt of child pornography, the Department of Justice announced.

Verastigui was arrested in February last year and pleaded guilty the following July.

Federal prosecutors say Verastigui, formerly a digital strategist with the Senate Republican Conference, was active in an online group devoted to trading child pornography and discussing child sexual abuse.

The Senate Republican Conference has previously said Verastigui “has not worked at SRC since July 2, 2020.” 

From April 2020 through February 2021, Verastigui shared child pornography videos with another member of an online group and made numerous comments about sexually abusing children, prosecutors said.

Verastigui became a subject in a Homeland Security Department investigation during a larger probe of more than a dozen other people who, police believe, exchanged messages about trading child pornography.

After completing his prison term, Verastigui will be placed on five years of supervised release, a federal judge ruled. He also will be required to register as a sex offender for at least 15 years.

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