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Press Release

Citrus Heights Man Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison for Sexual Exploitation of a Child

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of California

Ryan Kent Wheeler, 39, of Citrus Heights, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller to 20 years in prison to be followed by 15 years of supervised release and a $35,000 order of restitution for sexual exploitation of a child, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.

According to court documents, between November 2019 and February 2020, Wheeler set up hidden cameras in a house he shared with the victim to capture nude images of the victim. Wheeler made screen captured still images from video files and sent those still images into a Kik chat group. Agents obtained a search warrant, and recovered the hidden cameras, digital media that stored the files, and other devices.

This case was the product of an investigation by Homeland Security Investigations and the Placer County District Attorney’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Roger Yang prosecuted the case.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, 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, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute those who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit Click on the “resources” tab for information about internet-safety education.

Updated March 21, 2022

Project Safe Childhood