Ruben Verastigui Pleads Guilty to Child Porn Charge
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Ex-GOP Aide and Pro-Life Advocate Pleads Guilty to Child Porn Charge, Called Videos Showing Sexual Abuse of Babies His ‘Absolute Favorite’

Ruben Verastigui

Ruben Verastigui (Contrary to the screenshot, his first name appears in court records as “Ruben.”)

A former GOP staffer and Republican National Committee aide pleaded guilty to having 162 videos and more than 50 images of child pornography on his phone, admitting that he called material depicting the sexual abuse of babies his “absolute favorite” in a signed statement accompanying his plea.

Ruben Verastigui, a 27-year-old self-described pro-life advocate and ex-campaign aide for former President Donald Trump, admitted in court documents in D.C. federal court that he belonged to an online group that traded the illicit material. Prosecutors shielded the name of the still-unidentified group, citing an ongoing investigation.

A statement of offense filed on the day of the guilty plea on Friday, signed by prosecutors and Verastigui, recounts some of his chats with the group in morbid detail:

In the chat, Verastigui shared child pornography videos with another member of the group and made numerous comments about sexually abusing children. He was active in the group from April 2020 through February of 2021. For example, on April 13, 2020, Verastigui, who was on the Internet at his residence in the District of Columbia, indicated his preference for babies, saying they were his “absolute favorite” and soliciting another member for videos of babies being raped. The other group member promptly sent Verastigui a video of a baby being raped, and Verastigui responded, “FUCK YES!!!” The other group member then sent numerous other child pornography videos to Verastigui, including depictions of adults performing oral sex on babies. Verastigui commented on these videos, saying he “wished they were longer.”

Verastigui admitted to being the user with the display name “Landon” and the handle ““@somethingtaken” when Homeland Security agents executed a search warrant on his apartment on Feb. 5 of this year, prosecutors said.

The guilty plea to a count of receipt of child pornography stands in stark contrast to the public image cultivated by Verastigui, who worked on the 2020 campaign for then-President Donald Trump, worked as a senior digital strategist for the Senate Republican Conference and Republican National Committee, and was employed as the digital media coordinator for the anti-abortion group Students for Life of America.

Here he is speaking at the National March for Life in 2013.

“I truly believe that we are the chosen generation, and we will abolish abortion and change history,” he said.

Years later, prosecutors alleged at a pretrial detention hearing that Verastigui discussed “in great deal how much he enjoyed seeing children getting raped and killed.”

In a Feb. 9, 2021 memo seeking his detention, prosecutors wrote:

Later on in the conversation, he and the other group member talked about traveling so that they could accomplish this task. After the other group member said there were too many cops for him to come to D.C. to do it, Verastigui responded, “I guess you’re right. Well [sic] have be somewhere we could get a kid and kill them.” Verastigui also said his age preference was infants up to 12 year olds. And, he commented, “I can’t stop thinking about touching, raping, and killing a newborn baby, been hard all morning.”

According to the plea agreement, both sides of the case agreed that a sentence between 144 and 188 months was appropriate. That is from 12 to more than 15 years. This would be followed by 5 years of supervised release.

Verastigui’s attorney Kira Anne West declined to comment when Law&Crime reached out by email.

Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 12, 2021 at 2 p.m. Eastern Time, records show.

Jerry Lambe contributed to this report.

You can read court documents below:

[Screengrab via C-SPAN]

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