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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Illinois

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, June 5, 2015

Registered Sex Offender Sentenced To Twenty-Five Years For Distribution And Receipt Of Child Pornography

A Lebanon, Illinois, man, who was already a registered sex offender, was sentenced in federal district court on June 4, 2015, for Distribution and Receipt of Child Pornography, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Stephen R. Wigginton, announced today. Ryan Scott Richards, 41, was sentenced to 25 years in federal prison, to be followed by a ten year term of supervised release. Richards pled guilty to the charges on January 14, 2015. Richards was also ordered to pay a fine of $1,250.

The violations occurred from approximately January 11, 2014 to March 5, 2014, in St. Clair County, Illinois.

"We hope that such a long and well-deserved sentence will send a message to those who seek to prey upon children." noted United States Attorney Wigginton. "The harm these predators do is vast, and it lasts for lifetimes of not only the direct victims, but those who must deal with these images."

According to a factual stipulation filed at the time of the plea, on January 11, 2014, an investigator with the Illinois Attorney General’s Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force was doing an online investigation, and downloaded four images and a movie from a computer, later linked to Richards, a registered sex offender with two prior state convictions for sex offenses involving children. The movie downloaded from Richards’ computer depicted a nine year old female, who has been identified in numerous other investigations, engaged in sex acts with an adult male and a dog.

The ICAC Task Force executed a search warrant at Richards’ residence on March 5, 2014. At the time, Richards was downloading child pornography. Forensic analysis reviewed that Richards had a collection of 264,293 child pornography pictures and 1,821 movies.

At sentencing, the Court referenced a victim impact statement from the parent of the child in the film which expressed the constant anxiety the child experiences due to the ongoing dissemination of her images on the internet.

"I would like to acknowledge the dedication and professionalism of the officers and forensic examiners who are members of our ICAC task force," United States Attorney Wigginton stated. "The psychological burdens of investigating crimes which involve movies and images of children being subjected to sexual assault, degradation, and humiliation leave lasting effects on the men and women who investigate these crimes. Their work involves constant exposure to violent and disturbing crime scene images, and through prior investigations they have learned the personal experiences of these victims whose images are constantly traded on the internet."

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

The case was investigated by the Illinois Attorney General’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, with the support of the St. Clair County State’s Attorney’s Office. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Suzanne M. Garrison.

Updated June 5, 2015