If sexual crimes against children and juveniles must end, the law must deal with offenders in a manner that serves as a deterrent to these monstrous deeds. In such an example of law doing its duty, a US man who kidnapped and raped a 15-year-old girl, and filmed the heinous act, was recently sentenced to 292 months (over 24 years) in federal prison for producing child pornography.

Travis Smith, 28, from Los Angeles, California, pleaded guilty in January 2022 to one count of production of child pornography. The father of two kidnapped the victim from her home in Oregon and drove her back to his apartment in Los Angeles, where held her captive for several days. He raped her repeatedly and even recorded himself engaging in the horrific crime.

John A. Kronstadt, US District Judge of the US District Court for the Central District of California, who sentenced Smith, said that his inexcusable" conduct was "beyond comprehension". The senior judge also added that Smith's actions had a "profound effect" on the victim.

Impersonating a Teenager

Prison (Representational Picture)Rawpixe

According to court documents, Smith began communication with the victim (15 years old then) in early 2020. At the time, he was 26 years old and living with his estranged wife and two children. Smith began impersonating a 16-year-old boy on an online platform. He interacted with the victim here and discussed a popular online game with her.

However, their exchange eventually became sexual and abusive in nature. Smith often demanded that the victim punish herself by inflicting painful sexual acts on herself for her 'behaviour'. The so-called behavioural lapses included not responding to his communication on time or speaking with other boys.

Kidnapping, Raping the Victim 

Gavel [Representational image]Creative Commons

When the victim attempted to end their correspondence, Smith threatened her with dire consequences. He had enticed her to send sexually explicit images of herself during their chats, and now, he threatened to share them with her family and friends. Several months after their communication, Smit drove to the victim's home in Oregon (from Los Angeles) in July 2020. Smith forced the victim's compliance and kidnapped her under the threat of shooting her and her family.

In order to conceal her whereabouts, he made her destroy her phone. During the course of their drive to Los Angeles, the victim was repeatedly raped by Smith. After reaching the city, held the teenager captive for several days in his apartment in the Westlake neighbourhood. There he raped her again and filmed the act. After being in Smith's captivity for several days, the victim's ordeal came to end when she was located and rescued by the FBI.