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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, April 26, 2018

Reno Man Sentenced To 22 Years In Prison For Posing Online As A Teenage Boy To Receive Sexually Explicit Photos From Girls

RENO, Nev. – A Reno parolee who posed online as a teenage boy and enticed about a dozen girls to send him sexually explicit photos was sentenced in federal court today to 22 years in prison, announced U.S. Attorney Dayle Elieson for the District of Nevada and Special Agent in Charge Aaron C. Rouse for the FBI’s Las Vegas Division.

Ira Gene Weirich Jr., 59, pleaded guilty on August 11, 2017, to one count of distribution of child pornography and one count of receipt of child pornography. In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Judge Miranda Du sentenced him to lifetime supervised release. He is also required to register as a sex offender under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA).

According to court documents and statements made in court, Weirich was serving a life sentence in state prison for the 1978 rape, kidnapping, and robbery of a woman. He was granted parole in February 2013. During his parole, the State of Nevada provided him an iPad to take online classes. In December of the same year, during a search, Nevada parole officers discovered Weirich was using the iPad to obtain nude and sexually explicit photos of girls. He had been posing as a teenage boy on social media and chat applications and contacting girls. He engaged in sexually explicit chats and convinced as many as 15 girls to send him nude and sexually explicit photos of themselves. He received and saved a total of 300 sexually explicit photos and videos that he later traded with others.

During an interview with law enforcement, Weirich admitted he received and distributed child pornography. He stated it was the enjoyment he felt in having control and power over the victims and “it wasn’t necessarily about the nude picture, it was about getting the nude picture.”

The case was investigated by the Northern Nevada Child Exploitation Task Force, which is comprised of members of the FBI, the Reno Police Department, the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office, and the Nevada Attorney General’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Shannon M. Bryant prosecuted the case.

If you have information regarding possible child sexual exploitation, make a report to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) CyberTipline at www.cybertipline.org.

The 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. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, 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 and for information about internet safety education, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.

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Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Component(s): 
Updated April 26, 2018