A 63-year-old man has been sentenced after admitting to the sexual abuse of a child over a span of more than a decade. Chris Hamburg received the maximum federal prison term of 20 years, or 240 months, for transporting a minor across state lines with the intention of engaging in sexual abuse, as announced by U.S. Attorney Josh Hurwit on Wednesday. In addition to his prison sentence, Hamburg was also ordered to serve three years of supervised release.
Hamburg’s legal troubles began in July 2022 when he was indicted on a single count of transporting a minor. This was followed by a superseding indictment in December 2022, which added two more counts of transporting a minor. In February 2023, a second superseding indictment was filed, bringing the total charges against Hamburg to four.
In July 2023, Hamburg entered into a plea agreement, admitting guilt for two counts of transporting a minor. In exchange for his plea, the prosecution dropped the remaining two counts and recommended a sentence of no more than 180 months in prison, along with three years of supervised release.
During the sentencing, Senior U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill remarked, “I would have a hard time coming up with a case that is more horrific than this one.”
A statement from the victim in the case, as relayed by U.S. Attorney Hurwit, described the profound impact of Hamburg’s actions on her life. She expressed how Hamburg’s actions had robbed her of peace and contentment, stating, “You stole every bit of peace and contentment, from my childhood… from my entire life. My struggles continue, daily.”
The background of the case reveals a disturbing timeline of abuse. Hamburg began dating the victim’s mother around 1990 and subsequently moved into their Washington residence. The abuse began when the victim was approximately eight or nine years old, and she became pregnant at the age of 11. Following the birth of her first child, Hamburg relocated the family to Idaho to evade contact with child protective services.
Hamburg’s sexual abuse continued, and he impregnated the victim for the second time when she was 13, resulting in the birth of her second child. Over the course of more than a decade, Hamburg relocated the family to various cities in Idaho and Utah, where the victim endured ongoing abuse until her early twenties. Paternity testing confirmed that Hamburg was the father of the victim’s children.
The victim’s account, as detailed in an interview with The Spokesman-Review, revealed that Hamburg had kept her and her children isolated from the outside world. They were not allowed to communicate with neighbors, visit parks, or go shopping. They were essentially held captive in their own home.
However, a series of events led to the victim’s escape from this harrowing situation. She began connecting with individuals online, eventually forming a bond with a man in Illinois, leading to her eventual liberation. She also reconnected with her extended family, from whom she had been separated for nearly two decades.
After Hamburg’s disappearance, the victim’s online presence led to his identification through a series of coincidental incidents. Her determination to seek justice, with the support of her legal representatives, ultimately resulted in Hamburg’s arrest and sentencing.