Richard John Baxter Pleads Guilty in U.S. Federal Cour
Bill Mercer, United States Attorney for the District of Montana, announced today that during a federal court session in Billings on April 8, 2009, before Senior U.S. District Judge Jack D. Shanstrom, RICHARD JOHN BAXTER, a resident of Billings, pled guilty to receipt of child pornography. Sentencing is set for July 8, 2009. He is currently detained.
In an Offer of Proof filed by the United States, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:
In July 2007, BAXTER came under investigation by the Billings Police Department when it was alleged that he had sexually abused a 7-year-old female child. BAXTER had been discussing that sexual abuse with someone while chatting via the Internet and that chat was found by the child's mother. The child was questioned and disclosed that she had been sexually abused by BAXTER on several occasions. She also reported that BAXTER had been watching a movie of another little girl "touching her peepee" on the computer.
As part of that investigation, BAXTER'S computer was seized and forensically examined. Found were numerous images and videos of child pornography that BAXTER received and possessed via the Internet. The images included images of prepubescent children engaged in sexual activity, and engaged in sadistic or masochistic conduct or other depictions of violence.
BAXTER pled guilty to the sexual abuse of the minor female in Yellowstone County in state court and has been sentenced.
BAXTER faces possible penalties of a mandatory minimum of 5 years in prison and could be sentenced to 20 years, a $250,000 fine and lifetime supervision.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Marcia K. Hurd prosecuted the case for the United States.
The investigation was a cooperative effort between the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Billings Police Department.
A copy of the Offer of Proof can be obtained by contacting Sally Frank at (406) 247-4638.