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Washougal man sentenced to 108 years for child rape in Clark County court

He pleaded guilty to federal felonies in the case in 2021

By Jessica Prokop, Columbian Local News Editor
Published: March 24, 2023, 3:23pm

Editor’s note: This story contains depictions of crimes that some readers may find disturbing. 

A Washougal man was sentenced Friday in Clark County Superior Court to 108 years in prison for producing sexually explicit materials depicting his rape of two infants.

In February, a Superior Court jury found Stephen Rian Price, 30, guilty of 17 counts: five counts of first-degree rape of a child, one count of first-degree child molestation, three counts of first-degree dealing in depictions of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct, four counts of sexual exploitation of a minor and four counts of possession of depictions of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

Jurors also found special verdicts on some of the counts: Price and the victim were family or household members, the victim was particularly vulnerable, Price abused a position of trust, there was an ongoing pattern of abuse, and it was an aggravated domestic violence offense.

Price pleaded guilty in 2021 in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to two federal felonies related to the case; sentencing is scheduled next week.

Senior Deputy Prosecutor Laurel Smith said the federal plea agreement contemplates a 15- to 20-year prison sentence, to run concurrently with the Clark County case.

She told Judge Jennifer Snider she finds that to be offensive, “it’s a joke.”

“The evidence here speaks for itself. We had a window directly into the defendant’s mind through his chats. This was someone who was procreating for the purpose of sexual abuse,” Smith said.

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She said Price was “raping babies and bragging about it (online) like it was a sport.”

Smith asked that Price be given an exceptionally high sentence of 1,306 months made possible by the jury’s findings on the special verdicts.

“These kids will live with this for the rest of their lives. The reality is this will follow them forever because the defendant shared his abuse with the world,” she said.

In summer 2019, Price lived with his spouse and an infant in a motel in Washougal. Price used his smartphone to record himself sexually assaulting the child and another child who had lived at the motel, and he later shared the videos online. The online platform Discord reported a video Price uploaded in October 2019, according to prosecutors. Vancouver police subsequently arrested him.

Prior to the assaults, Child Protective Services terminated Price and his spouse’s parental rights and removed four children from their custody. CPS did not know about the infant with the couple, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Price’s Vancouver defense attorney, Katie Kauffman, had asked for a low-end, standard range sentence of 20 years. She said the former prosecutor on the case had offered a plea deal for 26½ years in prison, but Price wanted a trial. (His standard range was 20 to 26½ years.)

He declined to address the court.

Before handing down her sentence, Snider also heard from family of the victims and investigators on the case.

One detective described Price as a sadist, “a virus that has literally spread across the globe.” Another investigator said it was “without a doubt” one of the worst cases he had been involved with.

Snider agreed, saying “I can’t think of anything worse.”

“You’ve never shown any emotion, let alone any remorse. You’ve never taken any accountability for anything you’ve done,” she told Price.

Price poses an ongoing risk to society, she said, and the only way to protect it is to take him out of it.