Alton Man Sentenced for Child Pornography Offenses
Robert Ridenour, 37, of Alton, IL, was sentenced in federal district court on September 28, 2012, to a total of 240 months in prison on a three-count indictment charging him with Receipt of Child Pornography (Count 1), Distribution of Child Pornography (Count 2), and Possession of Child Pornography (Count 3), the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Stephen R. Wigginton, announced today. Ridenour’s term of imprisonment consists of 240 months on all three counts, to run concurrently. Ridenour was also ordered to serve a lifetime term of supervised release on all counts, also to run concurrently; fined $400 on each count, for a total fine of $1,200; and ordered to pay a $300 special assessment. Ridenour pled guilty to the offenses on May 22, 2012. He has been detained (held without bond) since his arraignment on March 2, 2012.
The violation referenced in Count 3 of the Indictment occurred on November 1, 2011, when officers conducting a sex offender compliance check went to the residence that Ridenour shared with other individuals. Ridenour is a registered sex offender as a result of a conviction for Predatory Criminal Sexual Assault in 1997 in Madison County, Illinois. Officers noticed that Ridenour had a computer in his bedroom and questioned him about it. Ridenour told the officers that no one else had access to the computer, that he used it to play Solitaire, and that the computer did not have internet access. Ridenour consented to a search of his computer. A preliminary review of the computer revealed images of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct in the “my pictures” folder on the computer. The computer was then turned off. Ridenour gave the officers consent to seize and search the desktop computer and a flash drive plugged into the computer. Forensic reviews of the desktop computer and the flash drive revealed several hundred images of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct.
In a voluntary interview, Ridenour stated that he had the desktop computer for approximately six months. He said that it had been wiped clean when he received it, and that he had placed images and/or videos of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct on the computer. Ridenour said that he used the flash drive as a back-up. Ridenour admitted having hundreds of images and/or videos of minor females engaged in sexually explicit conduct, including videos of minor females being raped.
Ridenour said that another resident’s (M.R.) computer was the only computer in the residence that had an internet connection. Ridenour said that he would use the computer at night when the other residents were asleep to download the images and/or videos of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct to M.R.’s computer via the internet. Ridenour would then transfer the images and/or videos to his flash drive. He said that he would then delete the images and/or videos of child pornography from M.R.’s computer. Ridenour said that he would have his Facebook page open so that if anyone came into the room, he could pull it up right away to hide the images of child pornography. One of the occasions that Ridenour downloaded images and/or videos depicting minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct from the internet was on October 30, 2011 (Count 1).
Ridenour said that he began looking at child pornography approximately four to five years prior, and that he last downloaded child pornography approximately one week prior. Ridenour said that he would put the images and/or videos of child pornography in different folders depending on the age or ethnicity of the minor, and that his favorite images were in a folder titled “best.” He said that his “best” folder contained approximately 100 images of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Ridenour also admitted to having numerous videos on his flash drive, including videos of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct in a folder titled “little nudes.”
In a voluntary interview with W.M., another individual that shared the residence with Ridenour, W.M. told the officers that the child pornography found on his computer had been given to him by Ridenour. He said that Ridenour would give him Ridenour’s flash drive. W.M. would download the images of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct to his computer, and return the flash drive to Ridenour. He said that Ridenour had done this nine (9) to ten (10) times since the beginning of 2011. One of the occasions occurred on September 15, 2011 (Count 2).
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in 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 individuals 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.”
The case was investigated by the Alton Police Department. The case is assigned to Assistant United States Attorney Angela Scott.