WASHINGTON – A Nashville, Tenn., man has been convicted by a federal jury of 11 child pornography-related offenses for the operation of several Web sites that depicted adolescent boys engaging in sexually explicit activity, Assistant Attorney General Alice S. Fisher of the Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Craig S. Morford of the Middle District of Tennessee announced today.
The federal jury in Nashville returned the guilty verdicts late Thursday against Timothy Ryan Richards, 25, after a two-and-a-half week trial. He was convicted of offenses including distribution and conspiracy to distribute, advertising, production and possession of child pornography, as well as violating the record-keeping requirements associated with the distribution of sexually explicit material. Richards faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison on four of the convictions. Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 26, 2007.
The investigation of Richards began in September 2005 when federal warrants were issued to search the content of computer servers in Freemont, Calif., and Los Angeles. Agents believed that these servers contained child pornography Web sites associated with then 19-year-old Justin Berry, who had come forward to cooperate with federal authorities in the investigation of the child pornography Web site Justinsfriends.com. Richards was identified as the operator of Justinsfriends as well as several other child pornography Web sites.
“We are pleased that the jury recognized the serious nature of Richards’ crimes,” said Assistant Attorney General Fisher. “The Department of Justice places a high priority on protecting our children from sexual predators and child pornographers. This verdict is a significant step in our efforts to combat the exploitation of our children.”
“I have always believed that a society can have no greater priority than promoting the safety of its most vulnerable members, especially its children,” said U.S. Attorney Morford. “That is why this case and this verdict was so significant.”
Testimony at trial proved that up until the time of his arrest on Sept. 22, 2005, Richards ran several Web sites depicting adolescent boys engaged in sexually explicit activity. These Web sites included www.CaseyandKylesCondo.com, www.CaseysCondo.com, www.PenisClub.com, and www.JustinsFriends.net. The defendant himself created three of those Web sites and took over Justinsfriends in the summer of 2005.
To provide material for the various Web sites, Richards engaged in a sexual relationship with one of the victims when that boy was 14 years old. The defendant filmed and took pictures of himself engaged in sexually explicit conduct with that boy numerous times over four years. The defendant also traveled with that minor into foreign countries, including Australia and Iceland, where he again filmed and photographed sexually explicit activity.
As part of his operation of these commercial child pornography Web sites, the defendant advertised among his sites and others and set up elaborate affiliate marketing programs in which he rewarded others for generating new customers.
At the time of his arrest in September 2005, the defendant was living with a 13-year-old boy. Richards is also under indictment and awaiting trial on one count of distributing obscene materials to that minor.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, supported by the FBI’s Innocent Images Unit and the Computer and Analysis Recovery Team, The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Justice Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section’s High Tech Forensic Investigative Unit, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney S. Carran Daughtrey of the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Middle District of Tennessee and trial attorney Kayla Bakshi of the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section.