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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Virginia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, January 24, 2019

Man Sentenced to Life for Attempted Sex Trafficking of a Child

RICHMOND, Va. – A Chesterfield man was sentenced today to life in prison for attempted sex trafficking of a minor, receipt of child pornography, and possession of child pornography.

According to court documents, Richard Todd Haas, 48, attempted to use a prostitute he knew to help him obtain young girls to sexually molest and produce child pornography, which he then intended to sell for a profit. Haas first met the prostitute in 2012 on the now-defunct website Backpage.com, and they got together several times for sex that year. They reconnected in May 2016, again through Backpage.com, and the woman visited Haas at his Chesterfield home to provide sexual services. During that visit, Haas shared with her his desire to have sex with children. Haas showed her child pornography on his laptop, and asked her if she had access to any young girls because they could produce child pornography together and make a lot of money. The woman feigned interest in the Haas’s proposal, but instead of actually participating in the plan, she notified the FBI.

Working in conjunction with FBI investigators, the woman stayed in contact with Haas via phone and text, and obtained incriminating text messages and recorded conversations. The FBI’s undercover investigation ended in August 2016 when investigators received information that Haas had recently sexually molested an 11-year-old girl. Federal investigators executed a search warrant on Haas’s home and business on September 1, 2016, seizing many items including his laptop. A forensic examination of the laptop revealed more than 7,000 images and movies of child pornography involving child victims whose identities are known, as well as many more child pornography images and movies involving unidentified victims.

Additionally, evidence at sentencing proved that Haas molested an 11-year old child in 2016 on multiple occasions. 

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 U.S. Attorney’s Offices and the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), 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.justice.gov/psc.

G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and MaryJo Thomas, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Richmond Field Office, made the announcement after sentencing by Senior U.S. District Judge Robert E. Payne. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Brian R. Hood and Heather H. Mansfield prosecuted the case.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information is located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 3:16-cr-139.

Topic(s): 
Human Trafficking
Project Safe Childhood
Contact: 
Joshua Stueve Director of Communications joshua.stueve@usdoj.gov
Updated January 28, 2019