Knoxville, Tenn. – On February 13, 2020, Dustin Ray Richards, 26, of Knoxville, Tennessee, was sentenced by United States District Judge Thomas A. Varlan to serve 97 months in federal prison for receiving and possessing child pornography. Following his imprisonment, Richards will be supervised by the U.S. Probation Office for 10 years and will be required to register with the state sex offender registry in any state in which he lives, works, or attends school.
In March 2018, Knoxville Police Department’s Internet Crimes Against Children Unit investigated to identify individuals who were using peer-to-peer software to share child pornography within Tennessee. The investigation uncovered an Internet Protocol (“IP”) address in Knoxville that was making child pornography files available for downloading. The IP address was traced to Richards and a federal search warrant was executed on his residence. The execution of a federal search warrant led to the discovery of over 10,000 images and videos containing child pornography stored on Richards’s computer.
The case was investigated by the Knoxville Police Department’s Internet Crimes Against Children Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew T. Morris represented the United States in Court.
This case was brought forward as part of Project Safe Childhood (PSC), a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, PSC marshals federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about PSC, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.