Thursday, March 23, 2023

Feds indict Ephrata man for child pornography

Staff Writer | March 9, 2023 4:01 PM

SPOKANE — An Ephtata man convicted last month of multiple charges of sexually abusing a minor has been charged by a federal grand jury with producing child pornography, according to an indictment handed down in Spokane on Tuesday.

Ephrata resident Michael Gene Rice, 48, was indicted on March 7 with enticing a minor child “to engage in sexually explicit conduct” for the purposes of producing and distributing child pornography and of engaging in that conduct while being required under federal law to register as a sex offender. Rice had been convicted in early February in Grant County Superior Court of several counts of possession and production of child pornography.

The indictment contained no details about the alleged crime.

If convicted, Rice faces a minimum of 25 years and a maximum of 50 years in federal prison on the child pornography charge and at least 10 years on the charge of committing a felony sex offense while being required to register as a sex offender.

According to Grant County Superior Court documents cited in the federal indictment, in April 2002, Rice pleaded guilty to raping a child in 2001 and was sentenced to 10 years of community supervision under the provisions of Washington’s Special Sex Offender Sentencing Alternative, which also mandated three years of treatment and registration as a sex offender.

A search of the Washington, Idaho, Oregon and national sex offender registries did not yield anyone named Michael Gene Rice.

Rice was scheduled to be transported to Spokane for arraignment this week, according to federal court documents, but should be returned to the Grant County Jail where he still awaits sentencing for his conviction in Superior Court.

“He still has a sentencing hearing,” said Grant County Prosecutor Kevin McCrae. “But that may be affected by (the federal indictment).”

Charles H. Featherstone can be reached at

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