NEW HAVEN, Conn. - A federal grand jury returned a two-count indictment Monday charging a 31-year-old Ashford man with receiving and possessing child pornography.
Richard Hendricks, a former computer teacher at the East Hampton Middle School, was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Connecticut State Police, and the East Hampton Police Department.
The indictment alleges that at least between May 10 and May 19, 2010, Hendricks used the Internet to receive images and videos of child pornography. The indictment further alleges that on June 6, 2011, he possessed images and videos of child pornography.
If convicted of possessing child pornography, Hendricks faces a maximum prison term of 10 years and a fine of up to $250,000 on the possession charge. On the receipt charge, he faces a mandatory minimum jail term of five years, a maximum term of 20 years, and a fine of up to $250,000. Hendricks has been detained since his arrest by ICE HSI agents on June 9, 2011.
David B. Fein, U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut, stressed that an indictment is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations, and each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
The U.S. Probation Office and Connecticut State Police assisted ICE HSI in the investigation of this case which is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Deborah R. Slater, District of Connecticut.
This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide ICE initiative to protect children from sexual predators, including those who travel overseas for sex with minors, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders, and child sex traffickers.
ICE encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity on its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE. This hotline is staffed around the clock by investigators. Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.