United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner
Eastern District of California
Ridgecrest Man Pleads Guilty To Receiving Child Pornography
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||
Monday, July 30, 2012
Docket #: 1:11-cr-00192-AWI
FRESNO, Calif. — Ridgecrest resident Ralph Michael Smith, 53, pleaded guilty today in to receiving child pornography. Smith was taken into custody at the conclusion of today’s hearing.
According to the plea agreement, between September 10, 2010 and October 17, 2010 Smith received via the Internet more than 600 images depicting minors engaged sexually explicit conduct. The images also involved the portrayal of sadistic, masochistic, and other depictions of violence. Several of the minors depicted were prepubescent minors. Smith was charged on June 9, 2011, and is scheduled to be sentenced by Chief U.S. District Judge Anthony W. Ishii on October 9, 2012.
This case is the result of an investigation by the Central California Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, specifically the Bakersfield U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). Assistant United States Attorney Brian W. Enos prosecuted the case.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ 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, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc. For more information about Internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab “resources.”