LEXINGTON, KY. — A California man on Naval duty in Afghanistan admitted today in federal court that he sent child pornography images to an undercover detective whom he thought was a 14-year old girl in Kenton County, Ky.
Richard Smith Andridge, 40, pleaded guilty to one count of distributing child pornography and will receive a minimum of five years in prison when he is sentenced on May 10.
Starting in October of 2010, when Andridge was deployed to combat zones in and around Afghanistan, he engaged in online chats with the undercover detective and sent the detective several child pornography images. According to the plea agreement, the images depicted children under the age of 12 engaged in sexually explicit conduct.
Andridge’s computer was seized when his Naval vessel returned to port in California. A forensic examination of the computer revealed more than 600 images of child pornography. Some of those images were sadistic and violent in nature.
Kerry B. Harvey, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky, Brian Capps, Kenton County Police Chief and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) jointly made the announcement today.
The investigation was conducted by NCIS and the Kenton County Police Department. The Ft. Mitchell Branch Office of the U.S. Attorney’s Office handled the litigation in this case.
Andridge faces a maximum of 20 years in prison. However, any sentence would be imposed by the court after consideration of the United States Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of sentences.