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Child porn trio get 15, 20, 27 years

An Oak Harbor couple and an Everett man were sentenced in federal court last Friday in a case involving child pornography and the sexual abuse of a number of Whidbey Island children.

James and Tracey Wright sexually abused their own children, a baby and a toddler, and also allowed 41-year-old Donald Leroy Keffler to molest them. In addition, they sexually abused seven other children from Whidbey Island, Everett and Anacortes and photographed the assaults to create child pornography.

Kathryn Warma, assistant U.S. attorney, said the Wrights and Keffler all received exceptional sentences — beyond the standard sentencing range — because of the seriousness of the crimes and the number of helpless victims.

James Wright, 30, received the most lenient sentence of 15 years in prison because he cooperated with the FBI and helped identify the nine children depicted in hundreds of images of child pornography. He had pleaded guilty to production of material involving the sexual exploitation of children.

Tracey Wright, 29, was sentenced to 20 years in prison. She had pleaded guilty to receipt and possession of material involving the sexual exploitation of children.

Keffler received a sentence of 27 years and three months in federal prison. He pleaded guilty to six counts of production of material involving the sexual exploitation of children and one count of transportation of material involving the sexual exploitation of children.

The investigation involving the FBI, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Snohomish Sheriff’s Office and the Oak Harbor Police Department started out with a lone informant, posing as a young girl on Internet chat rooms, who notified law enforcement that Keffler was searching online for kids to have sex with.

In May of 2002, the FBI learned that Keffler was traveling to California to have sex with an 11-year-old girl he met over the Internet. He was arrested when he stepped off the bus. Agents searched his belongings and found a teddy bear and computer hard drives containing tens of thousands of images of child porn. They included movies and video files depicting the sexual torture of children.

The FBI had previously connected Keffler with the Wrights. Tracey Wright ran chat rooms, with titles like “babysex” and “childslavesex,” that Keffler and the Wrights visited to find people with whom to trade child porn, Warma said. Keffler also used the chat rooms to lure children so he could rape them.

The day after Keffler was arrested, the FBI served a search warrant at the Wrights’ mobile home in the north end of Oak Harbor. The agents seized a computer that contained hundreds of images of child pornography, including many photographs the trio made themselves.

In addition to the Wrights’ two sons, seven other local children were identified from the images. Four of the victims of sexual assault were less than 2 years old; three were 4 years of age or younger; one was 6 years old; and one girl, who was developmentally disabled, was 13 years old.

Warma said several of the victims were children who Tracey Wright was supposed to be babysitting. The two Wright children, ages 3 years and 11 months, were taken from their parents after the arrests.

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported that the 3-year-old Wright boy sexually assaulted another child shortly after being taken from his parents. When asked about his actions, the boy said his mother taught him “how to hug.”

According to Warma, the parents of all the victims identified have been contacted and they were urged to get medical attention and possible therapy for the children. She said one of the victims is undergoing weekly treatment for sexual trauma.

You can reach News-Times reporter Jessie Stensland at jstensland@whidbeynewstimes.com or call 675-6611.

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