A Bellingham man must spend 20 months in prison for sharing child pornography on an Internet chat site, a Whatcom County judge ruled Tuesday, April 21.
Early in 2014 a Seattle-based task force was tipped off by someone monitoring chatrandom.com, a somewhat risqué site that pairs webcam users at random, that a user was sharing pornographic images of children in what appeared to be live streaming video.
City police and U.S. Homeland Security investigators traced the computer’s IP address to a trailer in the 4000 block of Flynn Street in Bellingham.
Detectives were granted a warrant and, on Feb. 20, 2014, they searched the home of Michael Kevin Lake, 48. After he was read his Miranda rights, Lake admitted he had up to 1,000 images of child porn and about five videos, but he denied making any of the porn. The video on the chat site, he said, was a file he’d uploaded.
A forensic exam of his computer turned up about 1,780 images and 52 videos of what police considered to be child pornography. Videos showed boys and girls — toddlers to young children to teenagers — being raped by adults and sexually abused.
Police found no evidence, even after a polygraph test, that Lake ever sexually abused children himself.
He pleaded guilty to one count of dealing in depictions of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct in the first degree, a class B felony. Other than a misdemeanor traffic offense in the late ’80s, Lake had no criminal history. He worked at Fred Meyer before his arrest in July 2014.
Superior Court Judge Raquel Montoya-Lewis approved a sentence of 20 months, plus three years of supervised release, as suggested by Deputy Prosecutor Nathan Deen, defense attorney Alex Ransom and a Department of Corrections sex offender evaluation.
Some final sentencing paperwork still needs to be signed, Deen said, though the terms were laid out by the judge Tuesday.
After his release Lake plans to live with his girlfriend and her teenage son on Sandy Point. He’s banned from being around minor children. Montoya-Lewis ruled he can live in the home with the boy, but he cannot contact his biological daughter. Lake will get sex offender treatment while in prison.