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Child Exploitation

Former Missouri police officer sent to prison for child pornography

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A former police officer was sentenced Monday to 7 1/2 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to child pornography charges. The sentence was announced by U.S. Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales, District of New Mexico.

The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Bronx District Attorney's NYPD Squad, and the New Mexico Attorney General's Office (NMAGO), with assistance from the Las Cruces Police Department.

James Carney Ritterhoff, 40, of Albuquerque, N.M., was sentenced Monday to 90 months in prison to be followed by 10 years of supervised release. Ritterhoff will be required to register as a sex offender after he completes his prison sentence.

According to court documents, Ritterhoff is a former Aurora, Mo., police officer who was employed as an armed money courier in Albuquerque when he was arrested in June 2011 on a criminal complaint alleging child exploitation and pornography charges. He has been in federal custody since his arrest.

In July 2011, Ritterhoff was charged in a seven-count indictment with using the Internet to entice a minor to engage in sexual activity, soliciting child pornography and sending, receiving and possessing child pornography.

Ritterhoff pleaded guilty to receiving child pornography and admitted receiving two emails containing electronic images of child pornography. As required by the plea agreement, the remaining counts of the indictment were dismissed after Ritterhoff was sentenced.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Marisa Lizarraga, District of New Mexico, prosecuted the 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 1-866-347-2423 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, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-843-5678.

HSI is a founding member and current chair of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.