While Republicans have spent the last two weeks accusing Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson of going easy on child pornographers, and accusing Democrats at large of being “groomers” and “pro-pedophile, a former GOP aide, who worked on former President Donald Trump‘s 2020 re-election campaign, was sentenced on Thursday to more than 12 years in prison after being convicted on a federal charge of receipt of child pornography.
Ruben Verastigui, 29, of Washington, D.C pleaded guilty to the charges in July 2021, and has been in custody since his arrest in February of last year. At the time of his plea, he admitted to possession of more than 150 videos and 50 images of child pornography and to receiving and distributing sexual depictions of children.
According to the government’s evidence, “from April 2020 through February 2021, Verastigui was active in an online group devoted to trading child pornography and discussing child sexual abuse. Verastigui shared child pornography videos with another member of the group and made numerous comments about sexually abusing children.”
“Verastigui indicated his preference for babies, saying they were his “absolute favorite,” and solicited another group member for videos of babies being raped. The other group member promptly sent Verastigui a video of a baby being raped, to which Verastigui responded enthusiastically. The other group member then sent Verastigui numerous other videos of child pornography.”
Verastigui worked as digital director for the Joint Economic Committee in 2018 and as digital strategist for the Senate Republican Conference from 2019 to 2020, congressional payroll records show. He was also on the payroll of the RNC from 2017 to 2018, according to Federal Election Commission reports.
Upon completion of his prison term, Verastigui will be placed on five years of supervised release. He also will be required to register as a sex offender for at least 15 years.