News and Press Releases


July 15, 2010

Spokane – James A. McDevitt, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced that Richard Leon Vansant, Jr., age 44, of Spokane Valley, was sentenced to 5 years in prison for receiving child pornography over the Internet.

In October 2008, the Burlington Northern Santa-Fe Railway police turned over a lost Apple iPod Nano to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement authorities. A search of the device revealed it to contain downloaded images of child pornography. Further investigation showed the device belonged to Richard Vansant, a conductor/brakeman for the railroad. A federal search warrant was then executed at Richard Vansant’s home in the Spokane Valley, Washington, where over 10,000 images of child pornography were seized in computers and electronic storage devices. In addition to downloading child pornography from the Internet, the investigation revealed that Richard Vansant had been corresponding with children in sexually explicit communications by using his Xbox gaming system. Richard Vansant was arrested on October 21, 2009, and has remained in federal custody since then. In March 2010, he pleaded guilty to receiving child pornography.

Richard Vansant was ordered to serve 60 months in prison, followed by a life term of court supervision after he is released from prison. As well, Richard Vansant will be required to register as a sex offender for his lifetime.

This case is being brought as part of Project Safe Childhood. In February 2006, the Department of Justice created 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 The Project Safe Childhood (PSC) Initiative has five major components:

  • Integrated federal, state, and local efforts to investigate and prosecute child exploitation cases, and to identify and rescue child victims
  • Participation of PSC partners in coordinated national initiatives
  • Increased federal enforcement in child pornography and enticement cases
  • Training of federal, state, and local law enforcement agents
  • Community awareness and educational programs
  • To report these crimes, visit or call the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s hotline at 1-800-843-5678.

This investigation was conducted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. This case was prosecuted by Stephanie Lister, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington.


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