Hogsett Announces Sentencing Of A Madison County Man On Child Pornography Charges
Prosecution represents more results in U.S. Attorney’s ongoing "Operation Community Watch"
INDIANAPOLIS - Joseph H. Hogsett, the United States Attorney, announced today the sentencing of an Anderson resident, to 70 months (nearly 6 years) in federal prison by U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt. Richard Zachary Gardner, 23, admitted guilt to charges that he received child pornography on his personal computer. This prosecution comes as the U.S. Attorney’s Office has recommitted to Operation Community Watch, a federal effort which aims to reduce the abuse of Hoosier children through innovative investigative techniques and aggressive prosecution.
“Through our Operation Community Watch initiative, we have joined with state and local partners to make clear that we will not tolerate child exploitation in Indiana,” Hogsett said. “With innovation and vigilance, we are unmasking these online predators and holding them accountable for their criminal activity.”
In August 2012, a detective with the Indiana State Police (ISP) was conducting undercover investigations into the internet sharing of child pornography. The ISP detective downloaded files from a computer that he later learned to be Gardner’s computer. The files downloaded by the detective contained images of child pornography.
On November 26, 2012, detectives with the Indiana State Police and Special Agents with the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations, went to Gardner’s residence in Anderson, and were granted consent to enter and search the residence. Law enforcement located a laptop computer inside the residence. A forensic investigation has revealed hundreds of videos and images of child pornography on the laptop including depictions of sexual abuse against children younger than age twelve and sadistic and masochistic conduct. Gardner admitted to downloading and receiving the images of child pornography located on the laptop.
According to Assistant U.S. Attorney MaryAnn T. Mindrum, who prosecuted the case for the government, Gardner was also sentenced to ten (10) years of supervised release at the end of his prison term, and must comply with state and federal requirements as a registered sexual offender.
This arrest comes one year after Hogsett announced a comprehensive crackdown on child exploitation in Indiana. In 2013, he launched "Operation Community Watch," which has allowed prosecutors and investigators to use cutting-edge techniques to identify and charge people in Hoosier communities who are engaged in the receipt and trafficking of child pornography materials. In this case, those efforts were facilitated by the Indiana State Police Department and the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a larger nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Hogsett pointed out that in the last Project Safe Childhood reporting year, the Office prosecuted 52 defendants, an increase of 37% over the prior year, and 49 defendants were convicted and sentenced. These are all-time records for the Office. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.