FEDERAL GRAND JURY INDICTS FORMER SLATON, TEXAS, POLICE OFFICER ON CHILD PORNOGRAPHY CHARGES
LUBBOCK, Texas — A federal grand jury in Lubbock returned a six-count indictment late yesterday charging Richard Lee Lewis, 50, of Slaton, Texas, with various federal child pornography offenses, announced U.S. Attorney James T. Jacks of the Northern District of Texas. Lewis voluntarily surrendered to law enforcement last week on charges outlined in a related federal criminal complaint and was released on a personal recognizance bond.
Specifically, the indictment charges Lewis with two counts of receiving child pornography, three counts of transporting child pornography and one count of possessing child pornography. According to the documents filed in the case, beginning on March 14, 2011, Lewis, a former officer with the Slaton Police Department, received images of child pornography over the Internet, and images of child pornography were downloaded from his computer’s file-sharing software. On May 11, 2011, law enforcement officers executed a federal search warrant at his residence in Slaton and seized approximately three computers, 80 CDs and 10 VHS tapes. A forensic examination of the computers revealed numerous images and videos depicting minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct.
An indictment is an accusation by a federal grand jury and a defendant is entitled to the presumption of innocence unless proven guilty. However, if convicted, each of the receiving and transporting child pornography counts carries a statutory sentence of not less than five years of more than 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and up to a lifetime of supervised release. The possession count carries a maximum statutory sentence of 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and up to a lifetime of supervised release.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice, to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), 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 to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
The case is being investigated by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Lubbock Police Department’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven M. Sucsy of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Lubbock, Texas, is prosecuting.
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