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Press Release

West Richland Man Sentenced to 11 Years in Federal Prison for Receipt of Child Pornography

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

Spokane– Joseph H. Harrington, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced that Darrin Lee Ruddell, of West Richland, Washington, was sentenced after previously having pled guilty on March 1, 2017, to receipt of child pornography. Senior United States District Judge Edward F. Shea, sentenced Ruddell to an 11-year term of imprisonment, to be followed by a 30-year term of court supervision after he is released from federal prison. Ruddell will also be required to register as a sex offender.

According to information disclosed during court proceedings, in the fall of 2015, the Benton County Sheriff’s Office received three CyberTips from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The CyberTips originated with a cloud storage company associated with Verizon Wireless, and contained child pornography images. The cloud storage account at issue was associated with a Verizon Wireless account, which was later determined to belong to Ruddell. Further investigation revealed that Ruddell was employed as a nurse at Kadlec Regional Medical Center.

Officers with the Benton County Sheriff’s Office obtained and executed a search warrant at Ruddell’s residence in West Richland in February of 2016. During the course of the search warrant, officers seized multiple computers, electronic storage devices, and cellular phones, including the cellular phone associated with the Verizon Wireless cloud storage account referenced in the CyberTip.

Forensic examinations were subsequently conducted on the various devices seized from Ruddell’s residence. Thousands of child pornography images were located on the computers, cellular phones and electronic storage devices belonging to Ruddell, including depictions of children who were under the age of twelve.

Acting United States Attorney Harrington said, “The sentence handed down provides just punishment for this offense.” He further stated, “This investigation is yet another example of the dedication of law enforcement officers and their willingness to ferret out those who intend to victimize children through the receipt of child pornography.”

This case was pursued as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the United States 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. The Project Safe Childhood Initiative (“PSC”) has five major components:

• Integrated federal, state, and local efforts to investigate and prosecute child exploitation cases, and to identify and rescue children;

• Participation of PSC partners in coordinated national initiatives;

• Increased federal enforcement in child pornography and enticement cases;

• Training of federal, state, and local law enforcement agents; and

• Community awareness and educational programs.

For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc. For information about internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab “resources.”

The investigation of this matter was conducted by the Benton County Sheriff’s Office, Homeland Security Investigations, and the Southeast Regional Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. The case was prosecuted by Laurel J. Holland, an Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington.

Updated June 23, 2017

Press Release Number: 4:16-CR-6028-EFS