(GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.) — A federal judge sentenced a man convicted of sexually assaulting children on Monday, March 6, according to the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado.

51-year-old Michael Tracy McFadden of Grand Junction was sentenced to life in federal prison after being convicted of crossing state lines with intent to engage in a sexual act with a minor under the age of 12, and transportation of a minor with intent to engage in sexual activity, per the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

McFadden was a long-haul truck driver who took at least two children on multiple trips out of Colorado. Over a span of at least six years, McFadden sexually assaulted the children repeatedly, both in his Grand Junction home and in his semi-truck in other states.

Two of his victims “bravely testified at trial,” relaying to the jury the countless times McFadden abused them, said the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

As U.S. Attorney, my office is committed to ensuring that those who prey on innocent children are held accountable for their heinous crimes. Today’s sentencing of Michael McFadden is a testament to our unwavering dedication to justice for victims of child sexual abuse.

Of course, no punishment will make the victims and their families whole or give them back what the defendant stole from them. But a sentence that ensures the defendant will never be free in any community ever again will at least send the right message—that perpetrators of this kind of horrendous, unforgivable crime will die in prison.

Cole Finegan, United States Attorney for the District of Colorado

Judge Christine M. Arguello sentenced the defendant on Monday, March 6 after a five-day trial. The jury returned its guilty verdict in November 2022.

McFadden was previously charged and convicted in state court with the sexual assault of six separate children. However, his convictions were overturned on appeal due to a speedy trial violation, preventing any further state court prosecution, stated the U.S. Attorney’s Office. 

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Denver Division was prompted to launch an investigation into potential federal violations. McFadden was indicted by a federal grand jury in 2019 and rearrested on federal charges.

“This predator took advantage of the trusting nature inherent in children and committed unspeakable assaults against his young victims,” said FBI Denver Special Agent in Charge Mark Michalek. “The FBI prioritizes the safety of society’s most vulnerable citizens and will continue to relentlessly pursue criminals who target children.”

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative started by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorney’s Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute those who sexually exploit children. These efforts include identifying and rescuing victims. 

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The investigation into McFadden was conducted by the FBI Denver Division with assistance from the Grand Junction Police Department and the 21st Judicial District Attorney’s Office. The prosecution was handled by Assistant United States Attorney, Andrea Surratt, and former Assistant United States Attorney, Jeremy Chaffin.