RUMFORD – A computer crimes child pornography investigation in Montana last month snared a Rumford man on Tuesday afternoon after police say he unwittingly e-mailed child porn images to an undercover Montana officer.

Maine State Police Computer Crimes Task Force Sgt. Glenn Lang arrested Anthony S. Richards, 33, of 242 Pine St., on Tuesday and charged him with felony possession of sexually explicit materials.

Late Tuesday afternoon, Richards, who is unemployed, was booked into the Oxford County Jail in Paris, then released at 7:45 p.m. after posting bail of either $5,000 cash or real estate valued at $50,000.

Lang said early Wednesday afternoon that a Montana Internet Crimes Against Children unit had gained access to an Internet account and for the past two months, used it to run an undercover operation by posing as a mother with two young children.

“They took over a bad guy’s account with his consent and Richards contacted them and transmitted child porn to them,” Lang said.

Montana ICAC Officer Bryan Fischer notified the Maine State Police Computer Crimes Task Force of the crime.

Fischer flew to Maine on Monday to start building a case against Richards.

On Tuesday afternoon, Fischer, Lang and U.S. Secret Service agent Manning Jeter of Portland, a computer forensic examiner, met with Rumford police Capt. Daniel Garbarini then went to Richards’ apartment.

“We visited Richards and he admitted that he possessed child pornography on his computers,” Lang said.

Jeter gained Richards’ permission to check one of several computers, all of which were seized, Lang said.

The quick preview revealed sexually explicit photographs of children who appeared to be under 12 years old, Lang said.

“It was production type stuff that we got off the computer,” he said.

When asked if the images were those of area children, Lang deferred to Garbarini.

Garbarini said late Wednesday afternoon that Richards did have photographs of local children under the age of 10 on his computer, but none of those images were sexually explicit. Garbarini, who recognized the children, said they were fully clothed.

The Rumford captain said he is also investigating Richards in another possible crime.

“As a result of the interview with Richards with the computer crimes task force, Richards made an allegation of unlawful sexual contact and charges are expected to result from those statements,” Garbarini said.

Richards was at a Lewiston hospital on Tuesday and unavailable for further interviews.

“I must complete my investigation before I can arrest him, but I contacted the guy today and told him that I will find him and I will arrest him,” Garbarini said.

Garbarini declined further comment.

Richards is the only person in Maine caught by the Montana investigation.

“Last year, we executed 41 search warrants (for child pornography),” Lang said, “but we have 200 targets for search warrants built up as of today who are the worst of the worst. This involves prepubescent hard-core child pornography.”

Lang said he’s only got one detective to handle the lengthy legal process surrounding search warrants and she’s overwhelmed. That’s why they can’t get to the 200 people in Maine suspected of crimes involving kiddie porn.

“I’ve got one detective and she did the 41 search warrants and an average detective does less than four. So for her to carry 41 was truly staggering. We’d like to get out and do them all, because anyone who possesses this stuff is a danger to children.

Richards has no previous computer child porn crime history, but Lang said they were aware of his computer activities prior to the Montana case.

“Richards wasn’t one of the 200 targets. This guy showed up on our radar screen as someone who shared child pornography on a peer-to-peer network and we passed him over. He didn’t rise to the level of the 200,” Lang said.


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