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Press Release

Cleveland Man Sentenced To Ten Years For Distribution Of Child Pornography

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

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – On Sept. 25, 2014, Richard Vatilla, 44, of Cleveland, Tenn., was sentenced to serve 120 months in federal prison by the Honorable Curtis L. Collier, U.S. District Judge. Vatilla pleaded guilty in June 2014 to distribution of child pornography. Upon his release from prison, he will be subject to 10 years of supervised release by the U.S. Probation Office. Vatilla will also be required to register under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA).

In the plea agreement on file with the U.S. District Court, Vatilla admitted to downloading and trading child pornography, and making child pornography available for downloading through a peer to peer file sharing program. He also admitted that he went online to teen chat rooms, talked to people he believed to be juveniles, and asked them to send him pictures of themselves.

The indictment and subsequent conviction of Vatilla was the result of an investigation conducted by the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, Department of Homeland Security Investigations Division, and Bradley County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Terra L. Bay represented the United States.

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 individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit For more information about internet safety education, please visit and click on the tab “resources.”

Updated March 18, 2015