WASHINGTON – Richard Hendryx, 78, of Morristown, Ariz., pleaded guilty today to traveling in foreign commerce with the intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct with children, Acting Assistant Attorney General Matthew Friedrich and U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona Diane J. Humetewa announced.
During the plea hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michelle H. Burns, Hendryx admitted to arranging a two-day trip to Mexico in April 2008 in order to have oral sex with two boys under the age of 12. Unbeknownst to Hendryx, while placing telephone calls and sending e-mail messages to arrange the trip, he was actually communicating with undercover law-enforcement agents. Hendryx further admitted in his plea to e-mailing one of the agents a photo appearing to depict a boy performing oral sex on another male, and to paying cash in exchange for the trip to one of the undercover agents after traveling to meet the agent in person.
Hendryx’s sentencing has been scheduled for April 6, 2009. At sentencing, Hendryx will face a maximum of 30 years in prison, a lifetime of supervised release following his release from prison and a $250,000 fine.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
The case was prosecuted by Trial Attorney James Silver of CEOS, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Sharon K. Sexton of the District of Arizona. The Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency conducted the investigation.