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Child Exploitation

Former police officer pleads guilty to child pornography charge

LUBBOCK, Texas — A 50-year-old former Slaton, Texas, police officer pleaded guilty Sept. 21 to receiving child pornography, following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and other agencies.

Richard Lee Lewis admitted that while he lived in Slaton he used peer-to-peer file-sharing programs to download images and videos to his computer, including child pornography, according to documents filed in the case.

On May 11, law enforcement officers executed a federal search warrant at his residence and seized about 80 CDs, 10 VHS tapes and three computers. A forensic examination of the computers revealed numerous images and videos depicting minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

Lewis faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison, a $250,000 fine and up to a lifetime of supervised release. A sentencing date has not been set. Lewis, a former officer in the Slaton Police Department, was released on a personal recognizance bond.

The case, which is part of ICE's Operation Predator, was prosecuted by ICE HSI, the Lubbock Police Department's Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, and the U.S. Attorney's Office of the Northern District of Texas.

Operation Predator is an 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 by calling 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or by completing the HSI tip form at http://www.ice.gov/webform/hsi-tip-form.