Reisterstown Man Pleads Guilty to Possession of Child Pornography
Has Previous State Conviction for Sexual Abuse of a Minor
Baltimore, Maryland - Richard David Morris, age 25, of Reisterstown, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to possession of child pornography, announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein.
“This crime came to light only because a suspicious adult checked the Maryland Sex Offender Registry, learned that Richard Morris had been convicted of a sex crime, and warned the family of a child he was scheduled to take on a trip out of state,” said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein. “Parents should be aware that sex offenders are required to register in Maryland and their locations may be checked on the internet, www.socem.info.”
According to his guilty plea, on March 14, 2007, law enforcement officers were advised that three juveniles were scheduled to take a trip to Florida with Morris, a registered sex offender on the Maryland Sex Offender Registry. Law enforcement interviewed a juvenile who stated that Morris touched him in a sexually inappropriate manner several times while the juvenile was at Morris’ residence. On April 13, 2007, a search warrant was executed at Morris’ residence and law enforcement seized numerous items of evidence, including two computers.
A Baltimore County computer forensic examiner determined that the hard drive of the first computer contained approximately 40 “thumbnail” pictures depicting child pornography, which indicated that larger images of the child pornography depicted in the “thumbnails” were once present on the hard drive. The hard drive of the second computer contained approximately 100 images and four videos that depict images of child pornography, including forty-nine images and one video of previously identified child victims.
Because of his previous state conviction for a sexual offense involving a child or children, Morris faces an enhanced minimum mandatory sentence of ten years, and a maximum of 20 years in prison, followed by supervised release for life. Chief U.S. District Judge Benson E. Legg has scheduled sentencing for August 8, 2008 at 10:00 a.m.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ 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. Details about Maryland’s program are available at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/md/Safe-Childhood/index.html.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the Baltimore County Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger and his office for their assistance in the investigation and prosecution of this case. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Bonnie S. Greenberg, who is prosecuting the case.