Sierra Vista Resident Sentenced to 25 Years in Prison for Child Crimes
TUCSON, Ariz. – On June 12, 2017, Ian Joseph Ritzer, 34, of Sierra Vista, Ariz., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Rosemary Marquez to 25 years in prison to be followed by lifetime supervised release. Ritzer had previously pleaded guilty to two counts of production of child pornography, one count of extortion, and one count of attempted enticement of a minor. Ritzer’s term of lifetime supervised release will include stringent sex offender conditions and he will be required to register as a sex offender.
While at work as a civilian employee of the U.S. Army, Ritzer used the internet to meet young girls on social media and other chat room websites. Ritzer then communicated with numerous girls through email and text messages. Specifically, Ritzer communicated with a thirteen-year-old girl in Illinois and a fourteen-year-old girl in Michigan. During their communications, Ritzer manipulated the girls by pretending to be a minor child, by engaging in a relationship with them, and then demanding that they send him sexually explicit photos. If the girls did not comply with his requests, Ritzer threatened to post their images, commit suicide, or other forms of retribution. It is suspected that Ritzer had over 100 victims. Further, Ritzer travelled to Michigan to meet the minor child with whom he was communicating.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, 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.
The investigation in this case was conducted by the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The prosecution was handled by Erica L. Seger, Assistant U.S. Attorney, District of Arizona, Tucson.
CASE NUMBER: CR-14-01918-TUC
RELEASE NUMBER: 2017-053_Ritzer
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For more information on the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Arizona, visit http://www.justice.gov/usao/az/
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