Polygraph Screening Failed to Deter Convicted Sex Offender Luke Michael Churchill from Raping Daughter

Luke Michael Churchill

On 14 June 2022, the U.S. Department of Justice in a press release announced that Luke Michael Churchill of Wilmington, North Carolina, had been sentenced to 40 years in prison after pleading guilty to a single count of production of child pornography. The press release notes that Churchill “photographed his sexual abuse of a four-year old child…over the course of several months in 2019.”

The DOJ press release does not mention that his four-year-old victim was his own daughter, a fact that is documented in a 2019 court filing that notes:

On August 9, 2019, Churchill was arrested by the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Department and charged with 2 counts of Rape of a Child by an Adult, 2 Counts of Incest, 2 Counts of Felony Child Abuse Sex Act, and 6 Counts of 1st Degree Sexual Exploitation of a Minor. The investigators found approximately 152 images on Churchill’s work computer of sexually explicit images of his 4 year old daughter. Churchill is currently in custody under no bond while investigators continue to gather more evidence.

In 2007, Churchill had been convicted on a federal charge of possession of child pornography and sentenced to 95 months in prison. On 10 September 2013, he began a 180-month period of federal supervised release that included polygraph “testing.” The DOJ press release notes:

Churchill was interviewed the same day the allegations were made and denied sexually abusing the minor victim and told investigators about how he had not failed any of his regular polygraph tests but refused to submit to another polygraph at that time.

There is no public documentation available regarding whether any of the polygraphs that Churchill passed took place after he began sexually abusing his daughter, but clearly, the prospect of polygraph screening did not deter him from his crimes.

The case is United States v. Churchill (7:20-cr-00072) in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina.

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