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Child Exploitation

Federal grand jury indicts former Slaton, Texas, police officer on child pornography charges

LUBBOCK, Texas – A federal grand jury returned a six-count indictment on Wednesday charging a former Slayton, Texas police officer with various federal child pornography offenses, announced U.S. Attorney James T. Jacks of the Northern District of Texas.

Richard Lee Lewis, 50, of Slaton, Texas, voluntarily surrendered to law enforcement last week on charges outlined in a related federal criminal complaint and was released on a personal recognizance bond.

Specifically, the indictment charges Lewis with two counts of receiving child pornography, three counts of transporting child pornography and one count of possessing child pornography. According to the documents filed in the case, beginning on March 14, Lewis, a former officer with the Slaton Police Department, received images of child pornography over the Internet, and images of child pornography were downloaded from his computer's file-sharing software. On May 11, law enforcement officers executed a federal search warrant at his residence and seized three computers, 80 CDs and 10 VHS tapes. A forensic examination of the computers revealed numerous images and videos depicting minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

An indictment is an accusation by a federal grand jury and a defendant is entitled to the presumption of innocence unless proven guilty. However, if convicted, each of the receiving and transporting child pornography counts carries a statutory sentence of not less than five years nor more than 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and up to a lifetime of supervised release. The possession count carries a maximum statutory sentence of 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and up to a lifetime of supervised release.

The case is being investigated by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Lubbock Police Department's Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven M. Sucsy of the U.S. Attorney's Office in Lubbock, Texas, is prosecuting.

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 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.