Elliott County man sentenced to 100 years for child sex crimes

Published 12:00 pm Wednesday, October 19, 2022

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An Elliott County man was sentenced to 100 years in federal prison on Monday after he pleaded guilty to a series of charges related to child exploitation, at U.S. District Court in Ashland.

Ronald Stinespring, 51, entered the guilty plea to three counts of using a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct, one count of possession of material containing sexually explicit images of minors, and one count of obstruction of justice.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Eastern District of Kentucky, the investigation of this case began when a young girl knocked on a stranger’s door in Elliott County. She was dirty and appeared malnourished.

The girl told law enforcement that she and two other females had been repeatedly physically and sexually abused by Stinespring and had not left his property in over two years. She said some of the abuse included being made to sit on rocks for an extended period, being tied up with paracord, having water poured over her, and even being shocked with a stun gun – on the tops of her feet, in her armpits, and around her genitals.

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Police executed a series of search warrants at Stinespring’s Elliott County property, which was a makeshift cabin built of clapboard and surrounded by pigs and goats. A search of the home revealed numerous electronic devices, a fetal doppler, pregnancy tests, and birth control pills.

Stinespring’s electronic devices contained sexually explicit pictures and videos of all three victims, at times when some or all were minors. He admitted to producing these images and to possessing sexually explicit images of other minors that he obtained via the internet.

While jailed after his arrest, Stinespring wrote a letter to one victim, trying to coerce her into taking responsibility for the criminal conduct. It was sent through a third party and was written in an elaborate code consisting of a complex series of numbers. The code was ultimately broken, and the attempted obstruction of justice was discovered.

Stinespring pleaded guilty to the charges in May 2022.

“The victims in this case suffered unspeakable mental, physical, and sexual abuse,” said U.S. Attorney Carlton S. Shier. “Even in the context of child exploitation and abuse, the conduct was remarkable.  Three young people were extensively and callously abused, over the course of years. While his conduct was truly appalling, fortunately, the sentence he must now serve is also noteworthy. It is our hope that it will assist the victims in their recovery from the abuse, provide them with some measure of justice, and prevent him from ever endangering other young victims again.”

Under federal law, Stinespring must serve 85 percent of his prison sentence. Upon his release from prison, he will be under the supervision of the U.S. Probation Office for life.