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May 25, 2012

Department of Justice

United States Attorney William C. Killian Eastern District of Tennessee

Federal Jury Convicts Richard Kelly Of Federal Sex Offender Registration Violation

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. - Following a one-day trial in U.S. District Court in Greeneville, a jury convicted Richard Erling Kelly, 56, of violating the Federal Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act.

Sentencing is set for December 10, 2012, at 9:00 a.m., in U.S. District Court in Greeneville. Kelly faces a sentence of 10 years in prison, lifetime supervised release, and a fine up to $250,000. Kelly has remained in state or federal custody since his arrest in Newport on August 30, 2011.

Evidence presented at trial demonstrated that Kelly, who was convicted of sexual assault in Flagstaff, Ariz., in 1990, and who served 14 years in an Arizona prison, left New Orleans, La., on June 8, 2011, after advising the New Orleans Police Department that he intended to move to Memphis, Tenn. When he never reported to the police in Memphis, the Louisiana State Police issued a warrant for violation of the Louisiana Sex Offender Registry Law. Kelly spent several weeks in Coffee County, Tenn., attending the Bonnaroo Music Festival, before moving to Newport, Cocke County, Tenn., on July 4, 2011. Law enforcement found him living at his common law wife’s Housing Authority apartment in Newport on August 30, 2011. Kelly never registered with any law enforcement office in Tennessee and never advised Louisiana authorities he was living in Newport.

Law enforcement agencies participating in the joint investigation, which led to indictment and subsequent conviction of Kelly, included the U.S. Marshals Service, the Cocke County Sheriff’s Office, the Louisiana State Police, and the New Orleans Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Helen Smith represented the United States at trial.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood (PSC), a Department initiative launched in 2006 that aims to combat the proliferation of technology-facilitated sexual exploitation crimes against children. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Department of Justice Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, PSC marshals federal, state, tribal and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information visit

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