Connecticut middle school teacher arrested on child pornography charges
HARTFORD, Conn. – A computer instructor at the East Hampton Middle School was arrested on Wednesday and charged in a case of child pornography being investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Connecticut State Police and the East Hampton Police Department.
Richard D. Hendricks, 31, of Ashford, Conn., was arrested on a federal criminal complaint charging him with receipt, possession and distribution of child pornography.
According to documents and statements in court, Hendricks was identified in May 2011 by special agents with ICE HSI after allegedly using his credit card to purchase access to the live online viewing of minors performing sex acts in the Philippines.
On June 6, 2011, with Hendricks' consent, ICE HSI special agents seized two laptop computers, one desktop computer and two external hard drives from his residence. A preliminary analysis of the seized computers and components revealed images and videos of suspected child pornography.
Hendricks appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas P. Smith in Hartford. He waived his right to a detention hearing and is currently in federal custody.
If convicted of the charge of possession of child pornography, Hendricks faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years and a fine of up to $250,000. If convicted of the charge of receipt and distribution of child pornography, he faces a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of five years, a maximum term of 20 years, and a fine of up to $250,000.
In announcing the arrest, David B. Fein, U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut, stressed that a complaint is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Deborah Slater and Ray Miller.
ICE investigates child pornography cases as 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 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 and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.