News and Press Releases

Former Youth Sports Coach Used On-Line Chat Program to Trade Child Pornography

October 2, 2009

RICHARD LINDSAY MINIFIE, 44, of Woodinville, Washington, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to 86 months in prison and twenty years of supervised release for Possession of Child Pornography. MINIFIE will be required to register as a sex offender. MINIFIE was arrested June 5, 2009, and has been in custody at the Federal Detention Center at SeaTac ever since. At sentencing U.S. District Judge Marsha J. Pechman told him, “You created a market so that children are used as commodities to be traded back and forth.” Judge Pechman noted that more than a hundred different children were pictured in the sexually explicit photos, saying there were “137 children whose lives will be forever altered.”

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 hundreds of images to the person in Virginia. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents executed a search warrant at MINIFIE’s residence after linking the chats to his internet address and residence. In his home office, MINIFIE had a lap-top and two desk-top computers. MINIFIE’s computers were found to contain more than 600 images of child pornography. MINIFIE even used an image of child pornography as a screen saver on one of the computers.

In asking for a significant sentence, Assistant United States Attorney Aravind Swaminathan told the court that with his use of child pornography, MINIFIE had deceived his family and those in the community who trusted him, including the parents of children he coached on various sports teams. Mr. Swaminathan wrote to the court, “The distribution of child pornography perpetuates an industry that is based on the sexual abuse, exploitation, and torture of helpless children. Images of child pornography are vehicles whereby a collector who does not have access to a child himself is able to repeatedly use the recorded sexual abuse of a child by another for his own sexual purposes and gratification.”

“Child predators often lurk in the shadows of the Internet, falsely believing their illegal actions are concealed from scrutiny,” said Special Agent in Charge Leigh Winchell who oversees ICE’s Office of Investigations in Seattle. ICE’s investigators know otherwise and this case further strengthens our resolve to investigate those who exploit innocent children in this manner.”

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 visit the Project Safe Childhood website.

The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

The case was 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.

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