Home Miami Press Releases 2009 Washington State Man Sentenced to 27 Years on Charges of Child Pornography
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Washington State Man Sentenced to 27 Years on Charges of Child Pornography

U.S. Attorney’s Office January 21, 2009
  • Southern District of Florida (305) 961-9001

R. Alexander Acosta, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Jonathan I. Solomon, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Miami Field Division, and Bill McCollum, Attorney General for the State of Florida, announced that defendant Richard Grass, 56, a resident of Washington State, was sentenced on Tuesday, January 20, 2009 to 27 years in prison on child pornography charges. Grass pled guilty on October 28, 2008 to transporting child pornography, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2252(a)(1), and attempting to transport obscene material to a minor, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1470. United States District Judge Donald M. Middlebrooks sentenced Grass to 27 years’ imprisonment, followed by five years of supervised release.

The investigation of Grass began in April 2008, when an undercover investigator with the Florida Attorney General’s Office CyberCrime Unit was monitoring an internet chat room often used by persons interested in child pornography and pedophilia. While monitoring the chatroom, the investigator received a message from Grass, who was using a screen name. During several online conversations, Grass electronically sent many graphic still and video images of child pornography to the undercover investigator, whom Grass believed was a 15-year-old girl. The images included children under the age of 12 having sexual intercourse with, or performing oral sex on, adult men. In addition to sending the images, Grass used “video streaming” technology to masturbate for the undercover investigator using his web cam. The CyberCrime investigator discovered that Grass was also sending child pornography to an undercover FBI agent in Miami, to an investigator with the Sturgeon Bay Police Department in Wisconsin, and to a U.S. Naval Criminal investigator in the State of Washington.

During his chats with these investigators, Grass encouraged the purported children to travel in order to have sexual contact with them. Grass also spoke about past sexual intercourse with young children, including a 14-year-old girl. Additionally, Grass said that he had taken some of the graphic pictures that he shared with the investigators. After Grass’ arrest, the Florida Attorney General’s CyberCrime Unit conducted a forensic examination of Grass’ computer, which revealed numerous video and still images of child pornography, including a video of a young girl in bondage.

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 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 www.projectsafechildhood.gov

Mr. Acosta commended the investigative efforts of the Office of the Florida Attorney General, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC). The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Marlene Rodriguez.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

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