An Alton man, Robert P. Ridenour, pled guilty on May 22, 2012, to a three-count Indictment charging him with receipt of child pornography (count one), distribution of child pornography (count two), and possession of child pornography (count three), the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Stephen R. Wigginton, announced today. Because Ridenour has a prior conviction for aggravated criminal sexual assault involving a minor, the penalties for the charged offenses increase. Ridenour faces a term of imprisonment on either or both of counts one and two of not less than 15 years but not more than 40 years, a fine up to $250,000, and a term of supervised release of five years to life. Ridenour faces a term of imprisonment on count three of not less than 10 years but not more than 20 years, a fine up to $250,000, and a term of supervised release of five years to life. Sentencing is scheduled for September 28, 2012 in East St. Louis, Illinois. Ridenour has been held without bond on this charge since March 2, 2012.
The violations were discovered when officers conducting a sex offender
compliance check went to the residence that Ridenour shared with other
individuals. Ridenour is a registered sex offender as a result of a conviction
for predatory criminal sexual assault in 1997 in Madison County, Illinois. A
preliminary review of a computer owned by Ridenour revealed images of minors
engaged in sexually explicit conduct in the “My Pictures” folder on the
computer. Ridenour gave officers consent to seize and search a desktop computer
and a flash drive plugged into it. Forensic reviews of the desktop computer and
the flash drive revealed several hundred images of minors engaged in sexually
In a voluntary interview, Ridenour admitted the offenses.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, 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 United States Attorneys’ Offices and the
Criminal Division’s 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.projectsafechildhood.gov.
The case was investigated by the Alton Police Department and the Federal
Bureau of Investigation’s Metro East Cyber Crimes and Analysis Task Force. The
case is assigned to Assistant United States Attorney Angela Scott.
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