RUMFORD – A local man facing federal sex charges after being accused of e-mailing sexually explicit photos of children to undercover investigators in Montana, recently waived his extradition rights.

Anthony S. Richards, 33, formerly of 244 Pine St., and now in U.S. Marshal custody, is believed to have been taken to Helena, Mont., sometime after his April 14 identity hearing in U.S. District Court in Portland.

“If he’s not there, then he’s on his way,” U.S. Assistant Attorney Jonathan Chapman said Thursday afternoon in Portland. “He appeared at the hearing and waived his right to removal and was ordered transferred to Montana.”

Richards was arrested at his apartment on April 8 by U.S. Secret Service agent Tom Jeter on charges stemming from a joint Internet child pornography investigation by the FBI and the Montana Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

He was charged that afternoon in the Portland court with two counts of attempted sexual exploitation of children, two counts of distribution of child pornography and attempted distribution of child pornography to a minor.

According to Chapman, who was initially processing Montana’s case last month in the Portland court, the first two counts are punishable by up to 30 years each in a federal prison; the other charges could net up to 20 years each.

Additionally, each count carries a fine of up to $250,000.

According to an affidavit filed by FBI Special Agent Kevin Damuth, Richards is accused of persuading a young Rumford girl to engage in sexually explicit conduct, which was then photographed and dispersed over the Internet via Richards’ Yahoo! Instant Messenger account.

Damuth said Richards was corresponding with Montana task force Detective Bryan D. Fischer, who had assumed the Yahoo! screen name of an indicted child pornography suspect with whom Richards was corresponding.

Damuth, who posed as a mother with two preteen daughters, also corresponded with Richards, the affidavit states.

Richards is accused of also sending child pornography to Damuth.

The affidavit states that Richards then asked Damuth to show the explicit images to the two girls and force them to pose the same way, then send those photos to Richards.

Until he waived extradition, Richards, who is unemployed, had been held at Cumberland County Jail in Portland. A jail official said Thursday that Richards is no longer there.

Marcia K. Hurd, a U.S. assistant attorney in Helena who will prosecute Richards’ case, did not immediately return a call Thursday afternoon.

Chapman said he didn’t know what will happen to the other sex crimes charges also pending against Richards now that he will be prosecuted on the federal charges in Montana.

Richards was arrested by Rumford police on April 2 and charged with sexually touching a young Rumford girl, whose photograph was among those sent over Yahoo! Instant Messenger.

Based on the FBI and Montana task force investigation, Richards was initially arrested on March 31 by the Maine State Police Computer Crimes Task Force and charged with felony possession of child pornography.

He was free on bail in both cases when the Secret Service picked him up on April 8.


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