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Child Exploitation

Seattle-area man pleads guilty to possession of child pornography

SEATTLE - A Woodinville, Wash., man who was arrested earlier this month after hundreds of illegal images of children were found on his computer pleaded guilty this morning to possession of child pornography, following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Under the terms of his plea agreement, Richard Lindsay Minifie, 44, will undergo a psychosexual evaluation with polygraph testing for use in sexual deviancy treatment. He will also be required to register as a sex offender.

In addition, Minifie and the government have agreed to a 20-year term of supervised release following whatever prison sentence Judge Marsha J. Pechman imposes when she sentences him on October 2, 2009. Minifie remains in custody at the Federal Detention Center in SeaTac, Wash.

According to the criminal complaint filed in this case, Minifie came to the attention of ICE agents in March 2008, following the seizure of a computer from a suspected child pornography distributor in Virginia. On the computer, investigators found logs of on-line chats between the Virginia suspect and a screen name and Internet address belonging to Minifie.

During the on-line conversations, the two exchanged pictures of children engaged in sexually explicit activity and commented on the photos. The logs indicate Minifie sent more than 330 images to the person in Virginia. When ICE agents executed a search warrant at Minifie's residence, one of his computers was found to contain more than 600 images of child pornography.

"When individuals collect illegal images of innocent children being sexually exploited, there are consequences for these actions," said Leigh Winchell, special agent in charge of ICE's Office of Investigations. "ICE maintains its resolve to aggressively investigate this type of case in an effort to curtail the victimization of children in this manner."

The charges against Minifie are the result of Operation Predator, an ongoing ICE initiative to identify, investigate, and arrest those who prey on children. ICE encourages the reporting of suspected child predators through 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 & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or www.cybertipline.com.