WOODINVILLE MAN CHARGED WITH DISTRIBUTION AND POSSESSION OF CHILD PORNOGRAPHY
Defendant Allegedly Used On-Line Chat Program to Trade Child Pornography
RICHARD LINDSAY MINIFIE, 44, of Woodinville, Washington, was charged by criminal complaint today with Distribution of Child Pornography and Possession of Child Pornography. MINIFIE was arrested this morning and will make his initial appearance on the charge at 2:30 this afternoon on the 12th floor of the U.S. Courthouse in Seattle, Washington.
According to the criminal complaint, MINIFIE came to the attention of law enforcement in March 2008, following the seizure of a computer from a suspected child pornography distributor in Virginia. On the computer, investigators found logs of on-line chats between the Virginia suspect and a screen name and internet address belonging to MINIFIE. During the “chats” the two exchanged pictures of children engaged in sexually explicit activity and commented on the photos. The logs indicate MINIFIE sent more than 330 images to the person in Virginia. ICE agents executed a search warrant at MINIFIE’s residence after linking the chats to his internet address and residence. MINIFIE’s computers were found to contain numerous images of child pornography.
“Some who traffic in child pornography on-line falsely believe that the anonymity of cyberspace shields them from detection,” said Leigh Winchell, special agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations that oversees Washington. “In fact, the Internet gives investigators new tools in our enforcement efforts to protect innocent children.”
This case is being brought as part of Project Safe Childhood. In February 2006, the U.S. Department of Justice launched 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 www.projectsafechildhood.gov/.
Distribution of Child Pornography is punishable by mandatory minimum five years in prison and up to 20 years in prison. Possession of Child Pornography is Punishable by up to ten years in prison. Both counts carry a $250,000 fine and the possibility of a lifetime of supervised release.
The case is being investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Aravind Swaminathan.
For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110 or Emily.Langlie@USDOJ.Gov.