denver man convicted of advertising child pornography and other child pornography related charges
Advertising conviction is one of the first of its kind in the country
DENVER – Following a seven-day jury trial, Richard Franklin, a.k.a “westfaliaimplant”, age 45 of Denver, Colorado, was found guilty of advertising child pornography, receipt of child pornography, two counts of distribution of child pornography, and possession of child pornography, United States Attorney John Walsh and FBI Denver Division Special Agent in Charge Thomas Ravenelle announced. The jury deliberated for two hours before reaching their verdict. Franklin, who appeared at the trial in custody, was remanded following the conclusion of the trial. The trial was held before Senior U.S. District Court Judge Wiley Y. Daniel. Franklin is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Daniel on November 14, 2013 at 9:30 a.m.
According to the Second Superseding Indictment, as well as facts presented at trial, from May 11, 2009 and January 5, 2011, Franklin knowingly made, printed or published any notice or advertisement offering to receive, exchange or distribute child pornography to anyone who was a member of his online trading circle. Further, the defendant knowingly received and distributed child pornography using the Internet. Lastly, Franklin knowingly possessed images of child pornography.
In total, the defendant possessed multiple hard drives containing over 200,000 images of child pornography. Franklin used a file trading software to allow others to preview and browse his collection and to chat with fellow child pornography traders. Part of the trading of images was to encourage purveyors to produce new child pornography videos. As a result of this investigation, two young children, both under 12 years old, were rescued from their abusers.
During her closing remarks, Assistant U.S. Attorney Judith Smith said: “The defendant’s currency was trading in the suffering of children’s sexual abuse and humiliation.”
U.S. Attorney John Walsh praised the prosecution team, including the Assistant U.S. Attorneys and the FBI Special Agents who conducted the investigation into Franklin. “Thanks to the in-depth work of the FBI agents, and the excellent litigation of the prosecutors handling this case, the defendant faces a mandatory minimum of 15 years in federal prison for his heinous crime of trafficking in images of the sexual exploitation of children as young as babies.”
“Protecting children from providers of child pornography is a priority of the FBI,” said FBI Denver Division Special Agent in Charge Thomas Ravenelle. “Today’s verdict demonstrates that those who advertise, distribute, possess, and trade child pornography will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
The penalty for notice or advertising child pornography is not less than 15 years, and up to 30 years in federal prison, and a fine of up to $250,000. The penalty for receipt or distribution of child pornography is not less than 5 years, and not more than 20 years in federal prison, and a fine of up to $250,000, per count. The penalty for possession of child pornography is not more than 10 years imprisonment and up to a $250,000 fine. If the defendant has a prior conviction relating to aggravated sexual abuse, sexual abuse, or abusive sexual conduct involving a minor or ward, or the production, possession, receipt mailing, sale, distribution, shipment or transportation of child pornography, or sex trafficking in children, the defendant faces not less than 25 years and not more than 50 years imprisonment for advertising child pornography, and not less than 15 years and not more than 40 years imprisonment for receipt, distribution and possession of child pornography.
This case was investigate by the Denver and Phoenix Field Offices of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Franklin was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Judith Smith and Alecia Riewerts Wolak.
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."