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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ANGELA DODGE

Oct. 25, 2011

PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICER
(713) 567-9388

Pasadena Man Sentenced in Distribution and Possession of Child Pornography Case

HOUSTON - Bennie E. Richardson IV, of Pasadena, Texas, has been sentenced to more than 12 years in prison for distributing and possessing child pornography, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today. U.S. District Judge Gray Miller sentenced Richardson just minutes ago in federal court in Houston.

The charges against Richardson were the result of an investigation conducted by members of the Pasadena Independent School District (PISD) Police Department and the Houston Metro Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force which focuses its attention on investigating offenses involving the exploitation of children via the Internet.

On July 14, 2008, an investigator with the task force entered a peer-2-peer network to locate and identify individuals making available large varieties/quantities of child pornography to others online. The investigator searched online, using common search terms associated with child pornography, for shared files accessible to the general public. Soon after, a user in Pasadena was discovered offering a large variety of videos that, by their titles, appeared to be child pornography. The user, ultimately identified as Richardson, made available 144 videos to those seeking child pornography.

The investigator downloaded one of the videos and discovered images identified as being part of a known series, as well as minor children engaging in oral, anal and vaginal sex with an adult male. One section of the video contained a young female (approximately 8-10 years of age) on her knees being forced to perform oral sex on an adult male while blindfolded with her arms and legs bound with bindings tied around her neck and attached to her ankles.

On July 25, 2008, a state search warrant was executed on the Pasadena location where Richardson resided. When law enforcement officers arrived, Richardson was located upstairs standing in front of a computer. At that time, the computer monitor was off but the computer was running. When the monitor was turned on, a file sharing program was running with files consistent with child pornography being actively transferred to Richardson’s computer. Subsequent forensic analysis was conducted on the two computer hard drives owned by Richardson and were found to contain images and videos of children under the age of 18 participating in sexual activities. The first hard drive contained more than 500 images and 400 videos, while the second contained an additional 130 images and approximately 10 suspect videos.

Richardson stated he was the only person in the home using the computer in his room and that none of the other residents knew of his activities involving child pornography. Richardson indicated he was very knowledgeable about computers and that he was a computer technician. He acknowledged he knew what child pornography was and was familiar with common search terms associated with child pornography. He claimed he was downloading and watching the child pornography because it relaxed him.  

Richardson, 40, was found guilty on the charges following a bench trial on Sept. 14, 2010. He has been in custody since his arrest. 

Judge Miller sentenced Richardson to  151 months for the distribution conviction and 120 months for possession, to be served concurrently. Upon his release from prison, Richardson will be on supervised release for 25 years and must register as a sex offender.

A hearing is set for Dec. 8, 2011, at which time the court will make a determination as to restitution to a victim whose images were found on his computer. 

This case, prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sherri L. Zack, 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. Led by 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 to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.