FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, July 19, 2013
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Virginia Man Pleads Guilty to Possession of Child Pornography
WASHINGTON – Richard Mark Abbott, 62, of Chesterfield, Va., pled guilty today to a federal charge of possession of child pornography, announced U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr., Valerie Parlave, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, and Cathy L. Lanier, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).
Abbott entered the guilty plea in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The Honorable John D. Bates is to sentence him on Oct. 18, 2013. Abbott faces a maximum sentence of 10 years of imprisonment, as well as a potential fine of $250,000.
According to the government's evidence, on March 15, 2013, Abbott contacted an undercover officer with the FBI's Child Exploitation Task Force, who had posted an ad on a social network site frequented by individuals with a sexual interest in children. Over the next few days, Abbott engaged in online e-mail and instant messaging with the undercover officer, whom Abbott believed was the father of an under-aged girl.
During the course of their communications, Abbott sent the undercover officer ten images of child pornography. On May 2, 2013, Abbott was arrested at his residence in Virginia. Pursuant to a search warrant for the residence, law enforcement recovered various electronic devices including two computers and various external storage devices. After a forensic review of those items, law enforcement recovered over 600 images of child pornography.
This case was brought as part of the Department of Justice's Project Safe Childhood initiative and investigated by the FBI's Child Exploitation Task Force, which includes members of the FBI's Washington Field Office and MPD. In February 2006, the Attorney General created Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Led by the U.S. Attorney's Offices, 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 identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
In announcing the guilty plea, U.S. Attorney Machen, Assistant Director Parlave and
Chief Lanier praised the work of the MPD Detectives and Special Agents of the FBI Child Exploitation Task Force. They also commended the efforts of Assistant U.S. Attorney Ari Redbord, who is prosecuting the case.