News and Press Releases

Richard John Baxter Sentenced in U.S. District Cour

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Bill Mercer, United States Attorney for the District of Montana, announced today that during a federal court session in Billings, on September 30, 2009, before Senior U.S. District Judge Jack D. Shanstrom, RICHARD JOHN BAXTER, a resident of Billings, appeared for sentencing. BAXTER was sentenced to a term of:

  • Prison: 210 months, consecutive to a state sentence
  • Special Assessment: $100
  • Forfeiture: computer equipment
  • Supervised Release: 20 years

BAXTER was sentenced in connection with his guilty plea to receipt of child pornography.

In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Marcia K. Hurd, 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.

Because there is no parole in the federal system, the "truth in sentencing" guidelines mandate that BAXTER will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federal system, BAXTER does have the opportunity to earn a sentence reduction for "good behavior." However, this reduction will not exceed 15% of the overall sentence.

The investigation was a cooperative effort between the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Billings Police Department.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood. In February 2006, the Department of Justice launched 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



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