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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Maryland

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Allegany County Man Convicted for Production and Possession of Child Pornography

Baltimore, Maryland – A federal jury convicted Richard Alan Blank, Jr., age 44, of LaVale, Maryland, today for two counts of sexually abusing a minor to produce child pornography, and for possession of child pornography.

The guilty verdict was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Acting Special Agent in Charge Ivan Arvelo of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); and Allegany County State’s Attorney Michael O. Twigg; Colonel William M. Pallozzi, Superintendent of the Maryland State Police, Allegany County Sheriff Craig Robertson, Cumberland Police Chief Charles H. Hinnant, Frostburg Police Chief Royce C. Douty, Frostburg University Chief of Police Cindy R. Smith, as part of the Allegany County Combined Criminal Investigations Task Force (C3I).

According to evidence presented at Blank’s four-day trial, on May 30, 2014, Blank used a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct in order to produce images documenting the sexual abuse of the minor.  A search conducted by law enforcement on June 2, 2014 revealed that Blank possessed images documenting the sexual abuse of the minor female on his cellular phone.

As a result of his conviction, Blank will be required to register as a sex offender in the place where he resides, where he is an employee, and where he is a student, under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA).

Blank faces a minimum mandatory sentence of 15 years in prison and a maximum of 30 years in prison, followed by up to lifetime of supervised release, for each of the two counts of production of child pornography, and a maximum of 10 years in prison for possession of child pornography.   U.S. District Judge William D. Quarles has scheduled sentencing for October 1, 2015, at 1:00 p.m.  Blank remains detained.

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 www.justice.gov/psc.  For more information about internet safety education, please visit www.justice.gov/psc and click on the "resources" tab on the left of the page.             

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the HSI Baltimore and the Allegany County Combined Criminal Investigations Task Force (C3I), comprised of the Maryland State Police, Cumberland Police Department, Allegany County Sheriff’s Office, Frostburg Police Department, Frostburg University Police Department and Allegany County State’s Attorney’s Office, for their work in the investigation and prosecution.  Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Judson T. Mihok and Aaron S. J. Zelinsky, who are prosecuting the case.

Project Safe Childhood
Updated July 2, 2015