U.S. attorney in Fort Smith announces an eight-year federal prison sentence for a Springdale man found to be in possession of child porn. A computer repair person blew the whistle.
Speaking of computers and Northwest Arkansas: It's unrelated to this case, but we're seeking further information about a search warrant served by a police agency in Washington County late last week in which computers were seized. They are now undergoing "forensic examination." A person with a public profile may figure in the case.
U.S. ATTORNEY NEWS RELEASE
Fayetteville, Arkansas - Richard Lester Smith, age 53, of Springdale, Arkansas, was sentenced today on charges of being in receipt of child pornography, announced Deborah Groom, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas. Smith appeared in U.S. District Court in Fayetteville, Arkansas, where Chief U.S. District Judge Jimm Larry Hendren sentenced him to 97 months in prison. Smith was ordered to pay a $10,000.00 fine.
According to documents filed in the case, on March 25, 2008, a citizen reported to the Springdale Police Department that he had discovered child pornography on a computer belonging to Smith while working on the computer. The citizen reported that he opened a folder on the computer and immediately noticed photographs of minors engaged in sexually explicit poses. During the execution of a search warrant at Smith’s residence in Springdale, officers seized a computer. An examination of the computer revealed that Smith had downloaded an image of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct. According to the plea agreement filed in the case, Smith confessed to possessing and viewing child pornography on his computer.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit http://www.projectsafechildhood.gov/.
The case was investigated by the Springdale Police Department and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kyra Jenner.