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Child Exploitation

Former police officer pleads guilty to federal receiving child pornography

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A 39-year-old local man pleaded guilty Aug. 13 to child pornography charges, following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Under the terms of the plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Mexico, James Carney Ritterhoff will be sentenced to seven and a half years in federal prison, followed by 10 years of supervised release. He also will be required to register as a sex offender.

Ritterhoff, a former Aurora, Mo., police officer was employed as an armed money courier in Albuquerque when he was arrested June 17, 2011 on a criminal complaint alleging child exploitation and pornography charges. He has been in federal custody since his arrest and remains detained pending his sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.

On July 20, 2011, a seven-count indictment charged Ritterhoff with using the Internet to entice a minor to engage in sexual activity; it also charged him with soliciting, sending, receiving and possessing child pornography.

Ritterhoff pleaded guilty to receiving child pornography. In his plea agreement, Ritterhoff admitted receiving two e-mails June 6, 2011, which contained electronic images of child pornography. Under the terms of the plea agreement, three of the counts will be dismissed after Ritterhoff is sentenced.

The Bronx District Attorney's New York Police Department Squad, the New Mexico Attorney General's office, and the Las Cruces Police Department, also assisted in this case.

This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide HSI 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. HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators.

Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.