Federal Jury Finds White Earth Man Guilty of Production of Child Pornography on the Red Lake Reservation
MINNEAPOLIS – A Le Roy man was sentenced to 120 months in prison for committing a felony offense involving a minor while registered as a sex offender, announced United States Attorney Andrew M. Luger.
According to the defendant’s guilty plea and court documents, Richard Dean Vandeweerd, 63, a registered sex offender, knowingly attempted to transfer obscene material to a minor, which is a federal offense. Using the web-based chat application Meet24, Vandeweerd contacted “Becca,” who claimed to be a l4-year-old female from Tennessee but was in fact an undercover FBI agent. Over the course of several days in February 2020, and again in November of the same year, Vandeweerd engaged in sexually explicit conversations with “Becca” and sent her pictures of his genitalia.
On April 17, 2023, Vandeweerd pleaded guilty to one count of committing a felony offense involving a minor while being required to register as a sex offender. He was sentenced in U.S. District Court by Judge Wilhelmina M. Wright on December 12, 2023.
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.
This case is the result of an investigation by the FBI.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lauren O. Roso.