United States Attorney David B. Barlow
District of Utah
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE MELODIE RYDALCH
FRIDAY, DEC. 14, 2012 (801) 325-3206
JOHNSON SENTENCED TO 25 YEARS IN FEDERAL PRISON AFTER
PLEADING GUILTY TO PRODUCTION OF CHILD PORNOGRAPHY
SALT LAKE CITY – Ryan Gregory Johnson, age 34, of Spanish Fork, Utah, will serve 25 years in federal prison after pleading guilty in May to one count of production of child pornography. U.S. District Judge Ted Stewart imposed the sentence Thursday afternoon.
Johnson, who faced up to 30 years in prison with a minimum mandatory sentence of 15 years, will be on supervised release for 10 years when he finishes his federal prison sentence. (There is no parole in the federal criminal justice system.)
Johnson admitted in court documents that between July 2009 and January 2011 he used the persona of an underage girl to coerce 10 children to engage in sexually explicit conduct. According to a sentencing memorandum filed by federal prosecutors in the case, Johnson persuaded young men between 12 and 18 to send sexually explicit photographs of themselves to a person they believed to be a 16-year-old girl. Johnson, using this female persona, also supplied sexually explicit photographs of an unidentified female. Many of the exchanges were premised on the promise of engaging in sex.
At the time of sentencing, prosecutors had identified 17 victims in documents provided to the court.
Johnson, who asked his victims to take a sexually explicit photograph with their face included in the photo, escalated the conduct by making demands for more explicit pictures. If his demands were not met, Johnson followed up with threats of “sextorting” the victims’ sexually explicit photographs – extorting or blackmailing the victims to do things they would not otherwise have done, prosecutors said.
“This is a particularly egregious case well deserving of the 25-year sentence imposed by the Court. The defendant in this case deceived children by posing as a young female, obtained explicit photos of young men, and then blackmailed the victims. He deceived his victims and he deceived his family,” U.S. Attorney David B. Barlow said today. “We take our responsibility to protect children in Utah very seriously. As this case illustrates, offenders will be held accountable for their conduct.”
Federal prosecutors referenced psychosexual evaluations provided to the court that show Johnson under-reported the extent of his behavior and has continued to offend following treatment for prior offenses. “There is nothing to indicate that Johnson was in any way deterred from his desires to seek out sexual contact with young men. As evidenced by his ongoing inappropriate criminal actions, his escalating behavior overcame any fear of punishment. Prior attempts at receiving assistance through treatment appear to have been futile,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Carol Dain told the court in a sentencing memorandum.
The case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Salt Lake City. The Springville Police Department referred the case to the FBI. The Spanish Force Police Department and the Utah County Sheriff’s Office also assisted with the case.