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Former Pastor sentenced to serve 10 years in federal prison for possession of child pornography

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 2, 2013

DENVER – Richard Howard Craft, age 69, of Thornton, Colorado, was sentenced today by U.S District Court Judge R. Brooke Jackson to serve 120 months (10 years) in federal prison for possession of child pornography, United States Attorney John Walsh and FBI Denver Acting Special Agent in Charge Steven Olson announced.  Following his 10 years in prison, Craft is to spend 5 years on supervised release.  He is also to register as a sex offender.  Judge Jackson scheduled a hearing for June 6, 2013 to determine the amount of restitution victims should receive.  Craft, who is free on bond, was ordered to report to a Bureau of Prison facility once one is designated.

Craft was indicted by a federal grand jury in Denver on August 20, 2012.  He pled guilty before Judge Jackson on November 5, 2012.  He was sentenced on April 1, 2013. 

Prior to his arrest, Craft was an interim pastor of Family of Christ Presbyterian Church of Greeley.

According to the facts contained in court documents, on December 23, 2009, an FBI special agent in Philadelphia, operating in an undercover capacity, accessed the Internet and connected to a publicly available peer-to-peer file-sharing program.  The FBI agent observed numerous files depicting child pornography.  Further investigation revealed that the files were being shared from Craft’s computer located at his Thornton, Colorado residence. 

As a result of the investigation, the U.S. Attorney’s Office obtained an indictment.  Ultimately, Craft pled guilty to the possession of child pornography that had been shipped and transported in interstate and foreign commerce by any means, including by computer, between July 2007 and January 2008.

Craft also forfeited any and all of his rights, title and interest in the child pornography images, the computers containing child pornography, and any other real or personal property he used or intended to be used to commit or promote the commission of the offenses.

“As the defendant told Judge Jackson during his sentencing hearing, sexual predators view children as objects for gratification, not human beings to nurture,” said U.S. Attorney John Walsh.  “The lengthy prison sentence is a result of the fact of the defendant’s compulsive viewing of child pornography.”

“The FBI’s Violent Crimes Against Children Program will continue to aggressively investigate cases that involve possession of child pornography in order to protect our children from predators on the streets and online,” said FBI Denver Acting Special Agent in Charge Steven Olson.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Violent Crimes Against Children Program.

Craft was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ryan Bergsieker and Alecia Riewerts Wolak and Department of Justice Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section Trial Attorney Michael Grant.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood (PSC), 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, PSC marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about PSC, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc/  For more information about Internet safety education, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc/resources.html and click on the tab "resources."

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