Crime

Man With Nation's Largest Child Porn Stash Is Sentenced

| by David Bonner
Richard PersonRichard Person

A resident of Cheyenne, Wyoming, is America's leading collector of child pornography, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the National Internet Crimes Against Children Association.

That ranking is based on the cache of porn that was seized from the home of Richard Person earlier in 2016, reports the Wyoming Tribune Eagle.

“It would take more than two decades of daily, full-time viewing for someone to get through all the sexually explicit images and videos of children” Person had, notes the newspaper.  He had gathered and indexed the collection on his home computer.

As the Chief U.S. District Judge Nancy Freudenthal put it, “This boggles my mind.” On Aug. 2, Freudenthal sentenced Person, 63, to spend 19 years and seven months in prison for possession of child pornography, stating that “I think that the only way to protect the public is to separate him for as long as reasonable.”

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“I’m very sorry to all the people I let down,” said Person, who was previously convicted in 2001 for sexually assaulting a child. He spent eight years in prison, and was released on parole in 2009.

The Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation’s Internet Crimes Against Children so far has spent more than 400 hours analyzing the child pornography possessed by Person, according to the court.

The perpetrator’s collection included around 10 million files, which he kept on computers with an approximate storage capacity of 47 terabytes. Putting this into perspective, the Wichita Tribune Eagle notes that  “just 1 terabyte of storage can hold approximately 1,000 hours (40 days) of standard definition video or 310,000 photos.”

Person’s public defender, David Weiss, referred to his client’s behavior as “clearly disturbing,” but tried to lay some of the blame on Person’s obsessive collecting. “In addition to having some issues with pedophilia, he is a collector. It no longer became about the viewing -- it became about the completion of collections,” he said.

But Judge Freudenthal wasn’t buying it. “This is beyond characterizing as obsessive,” she said. She handed down the maximum sentence possible, followed by 10 years of supervised release, plus a fine to be divided among Person’s victims, who have yet to be identified.

Although Person is apparently unique regarding the scope of his crime, he is far from alone. The internet and digital technology has led to an explosion of child pornography, explains the U.S. Department of Justice:

“The Internet provides ground for individuals to create, access, and share child sexual abuse images worldwide at the click of a button.  Child pornography images are readily available through virtually every Internet technology including websites, email, instant messaging/ICQ, Internet Relay Chat (IRC), newsgroups, bulletin boards, peer-to-peer networks, and social networking sites.  Child pornography offenders can connect on Internet forums and networks to share their interests, desires, and experiences abusing children in addition to selling, sharing, and trading images.”

Sources: Wyoming Tribune Eagle, U.S. Department of Justice / Photo credit: Wyoming Tribune Eagle

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