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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Florida

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, December 23, 2019

Pinellas County Man Sentenced To More Than Nine Years For Receiving And Possessing Child Sex Abuse Material

Tampa, Florida – U.S. District Judge Virginia M. Hernandez-Covington has sentenced Kelly Stephen Ratcliffe (53, Dunedin) to nine years and two months in federal prison for receiving and possessing child pornography. In addition, Ratcliffe is ordered to pay $49,000 in restitution to the victims, and must forfeit the electronic devices that he used to commit the offenses.

Ratcliffe had pleaded guilty on September 19, 2019.

According to court documents, the FBI executed a search warrant at Ratcliffe’s residence in November 2018. Ratcliffe admitted that he had used his iPhone and iPad to access an internet application known to law enforcement to be used by individuals interested in sharing child sex abuse material, to communicate with others about the sexual abuse of children, and to receive, trade, and save child pornography. A forensic review of Ratcliffe’s electronic devices revealed that he had received numerous images and videos of child pornography from other individuals online and that he possessed approximately 230 videos and over 800 images of child sex abuse material depicting the sadomasochistic conduct, bondage, and penile penetration of infants and toddlers. Ratcliffe told other individuals that he liked child rape and liked them “crying” and “tied.” The forensic analysis of the devices also revealed that Ratcliffe had specifically sought out images and videos of toddlers being raped.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Lisa M. Thelwell.

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 United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), 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.

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Component(s): 
Updated December 23, 2019