Lexington, Kentucky - A Kentucky resident pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday that he, a U.S. citizen, engaged and attempted to engage in illicit sexual conduct with two minor females while he traveled and resided in Cambodia.
Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Robert M. Duncan Jr. for the Eastern District of Kentucky, Special Agent in Charge Jerry Templet of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Nashville, and Kentucky State Police Commissioner Rodney Brewer made the announcement.
Micky Rife, 36, formerly of Salyersville, Kentucky, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Gregory F. Van Tatenhove. In his plea agreement, Rife admitted that between Sept. 3, 2012, and Dec. 9, 2018, he traveled in foreign commerce, and between March 7, 2013 and Dec. 9, 2018, he resided in Cambodia, and that during those periods he touched two minor females under their clothing and inside or on their genital areas on more than one occasion. He further admitted that both minor victims were under the age of 12 when the illicit conduct occurred.
Rife was previously indicted for two separate counts of the same offense in February 2019. He pleaded guilty to a single-count information filed. Sentencing is scheduled for April 7, 2020.
The investigation was conducted in Cambodia and Kentucky by HSI and the Kentucky State Police. Trial Attorney Lauren S. Kupersmith of the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS) and Assistant U.S. Attorney David A. Marye prosecuted the case.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and CEOS, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims.