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Possession Of Child Pornography Leads To 6 Year Prison Sentence For Fairview Heights Man

A Fairview Heights man is heading to federal prison for possession of child pornography. Michael M. Rapa, 68, of Fairview Heights, was sentenced on Thursday, June 2, to 6 years in prison for two counts of possession of prepubescent child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography. Rapa pleaded guilty to the charges in February. Following his prison sentence, Rapa will be on federal supervised release for 5 years and will be required to register as a sex offender for the remainder of his life.
According to court documents, Rapa first came to the attention of law enforcement in Vancouver, Canada, in 2015. As the result of a subsequent investigation conducted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Fairview Heights Police Department, in 2017 Rapa was determined to be in possession of hundreds of image and video files containing prepubescent child pornography on various items of electronic media which lead to charges in the Southern District of Illinois.
“There is something profoundly wrong with an individual who derives sexual gratification from seeing children being raped,” said U.S. Attorney Steven D. Weinhoeft. “Law enforcement must confront this evil because, to paraphrase Mahatma Gandhi, a true measure of society can be found in how it protects its most vulnerable members.”
“One of the most horrific things an individual can do is seek to harm a child,” said acting Special Agent in Charge of the Kansas City area of operations R. Sean Fitzgerald. “I couldn’t be prouder of the HSI special agents and analysts, in coordination with our law enforcement partners, who have dedicated their lives to removing these predators from our community.”
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit For more information about internet safety education, please visit and click on the tab “resources.”
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Karelia Rajagopal and Ali Summers.

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