SACRAMENTO, Calif. — William Richter, 38, of Shasta County, pleaded guilty today to knowing possession of visual depictions of the sexual exploitation of minors, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.
According to court documents, Richter had been convicted of the same offense and was on federal supervised release when he committed this new crime on July 23, 2020. On June 6, 2013, Richter was sentenced to 51 months in prison in his prior case. In July of 2020, Richter was on supervised release when a law enforcement officer pulled over Richter for a traffic violation. A smart phone was discovered hidden in Richter’s driver’s seat cover. According to the terms of his supervised release, Richter was not allowed to use the internet or to possess a smart phone. Forensic analysis revealed that Richter possessed at least 51 explicit photographs of pre-pubescents on his phone, one of which depicted sexual abuse of an infant. The victims in the images came from locations outside of California, such as the Philippines, Germany, Russia, Ukraine, Ecuador, Slovenia, Sweden, Pennsylvania, Alabama, Virginia, Florida, Tennessee, Utah, and Delaware. Richter had installed programs such as Kik messenger, VLC medial player, the TOR browser, Yo Live, Telegram and Mega on his unauthorized phone, and accessed websites which likely hosted sexually explicit conduct.
This case is the product of an investigation by Homeland Security Investigations and the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Christina McCall is prosecuting the case.
Richter is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge John A. Mendez on July 12, 2022. He faces a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison, and a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years, due to his prior conviction for this same offense. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.
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 www.usdoj.gov/psc. Click on the “resources” tab for information about internet-safety education.