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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Colorado

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, March 24, 2016

Colorado Woman and Man Arrested and Charged with Production and Transportation of Child Pornography Involving an Infant

Woman in contact with nannies4hire.com and care.com produced child pornography of an infant at another man's request

DENVER –Brandi Leonard, and Richard Hennis, both of Colorado, were arrested for production of child pornography involving an infant victim, U.S. Attorney John Walsh, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agent in Charge David A. Thompson, and Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Commander for Colorado Lieutenant Christina Sheppard of the Colorado Springs Police Department announced.

According to evidence presented in open court, as well as arguments outlined in a public filing, in the course of online chats that occurred between Leonard and Hennis spanning approximately two months, Leonard told Hennis that she had sexually abused an infant.  Hennis encouraged Leonard to sexually abuse the infant again, to take pictures of or video the abuse, and to send them to him.  She did.  Law enforcement recovered the pictures that Leonard produced of the infant from Hennis’s phone.

Around the same time that Leonard was sexually abusing the infant, she was also corresponding by email with nannies4hire.com and care.com, which are websites that provide services including connecting child-care providers with those who need child care.

Finally, during their chats, the two defendants discuss in graphic detail kidnapping, raping, killing and dismembering a child between the ages of 4 and 8 years.  Leonard twice during the chat indicated that she didn’t intend to go through with it, yet she continued to engage in such chats with Hennis. 

A U.S. Magistrate Judge held a detention hearing for Leonard on March 17th 2016.  Leonard was ordered released on bond conditions that included home incarceration.  The government appealed the order.  Senior U.S. District Court Judge Lewis T. Babcock issued an emergency stay of the release order, and ultimately U.S. District Court Judge R. Brooke Jackson ordered Leonard detained without bond pending a resolution of her case.  A U.S. Magistrate Judge held a detention hearing on March 22, 2016 resulted in Hennis also being ordered held without bond.

Leonard is currently charged with one count of Production of Child Pornography, which carries a penalty of not less than 15 years, and not more than 30 years in federal prison, and up to a $250,000 fine.  She also faces one count of Transportation of Child Pornography, which carries a penalty of not less than 5 years, and not more than 20 years in federal prison, and up to a $250,000 fine.  Hennis faces one count of Production of Child Pornography, which carries a penalty of not less than 15 years, and not more than 30 years in federal prison, and up to a $250,000 fine.  He faces one count of Advertisement of Child Pornography, which carries a penalty of not less than 15 years, and not more than 30 years in federal prison, and up to a $250,000 fine.  He also faces one count of Transportation of Child Pornography, which carries a penalty of not less than 5 years, and not more than 20 years in federal prison, and up to a $250,000 fine. 

This case was investigated by HSI and the Colorado Springs Police Department’s ICAC Unit. 

The defendants are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Alecia Riewerts.

A Criminal Complaint is a probable cause charging document.  Anyone accused of committing a felony violation of federal law has a Constitutional right to be indicted by a federal grand jury.  The charges contained in the Complaint are allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood (PSC), a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, PSC marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about PSC, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc/.  For more information about Internet safety education, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc/resources.html and click on the tab "resources."

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Component(s): 
Updated March 28, 2016