Ninth Circuit Court upholds child molester’s sentence of 12 life terms

Ninth Circuit Court upholds child molester’s sentence of 12 life terms

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld convictions of Craig A. Morgenstern, that resulted in 12 life terms of imprisonment.

In 2016, a federal trial jury found 49-year-old Morgenstern, of Nine Mile Falls, guilty of 12 counts of Aggravated Sexual Abuse of a Child; 18 counts of Production and Attempted Production of Child Pornography; two counts of Travel with Intent to Engage in Illicit Sexual Contact with a Minor; and, one count of Receipt of Child Pornography.

According to evidence introduced at trial, Morgenstern sexually assaulted six young boys and produced child pornography images of the assault from 2008 to 2014. The victims ranged in age from 7 to 15 years old at the time of the assaults.

Evidence at the trial also established that Morgenstern traveled to Idaho, Mississippi, and Tennesee in order to sexually molest the same victims and produce child pornography images. Morgenstern would incapacitate his victims using drugs so that they would be unaware they were being abused.

Evidence showed that Morgenstern’s crimes were discovered after one of his victims, then a minor less than 14-years-old, escaped from Moregenstern’s residence in Stevens County on October 18, 2014, after waking up to find Morgenstern sexually assaulting him. Additional victims were then discovered.

Following his sentencing in 2016, Morgenstern appealed his convictions to the Ninth Circuit court of appeals. The court upheld his sentence, however, noting that “the jury was presented with an overwhelming amount of digital evidence that depicted Morgenstern performing sex acts on the victims.”

United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington Joseph H. Harrington said, “Morgenstern is a sexual predator who used his position as a doctor and the trust of unsuspecting families to prey on children for his own selfish sexual gratification. If not for the brave actions of his last victim, the hard work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Stevens County Sheriff’s Office, and the resilience of all of Morgenstern’s victims and the victims’ families at trial, Morgenstern’s crimes would have gone undiscovered and unpunished. Ultimately, Morgenstern received a just and fair trial and a just and fair sentence and he will never again be able to victimize another child or another unsuspecting family.”