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Man sentenced to 25 years in prison for distribution of child pornography

Richard Flores, 58, of Seattle was sentenced today in U.S. District Court to 25 years in prison and lifetime supervised release for distribution of child pornography, announced U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan.

Flores pleaded guilty in November 2011.  Flores was previously convicted in King County Superior Court in 1997 of communicating with a minor for immoral purposes, for the molestation of two young girls.  U.S. District Judge Richard A. Jones said Flores had engaged in “sexual terrorism” against his young victims.  “No matter what sentence I impose,” the judge told Flores, “it will pale in comparison to the life of pain you imposed on your young victims.”

According to the plea agreement, Flores was employed by the Seattle Times as a clerk in the finance department.  Flores admitted that in February and March 2011, while at work, he downloaded child pornography onto his work computer.  Flores transferred the child pornography to an external thumb drive and later distributed the child pornography using his Yahoo Flickr account.  Law enforcement found about 6,800 images and videos on the thumb drive.

Flores was terminated by the Seattle Times shortly after detectives followed up on information from the internet service provider about the explicit materials downloaded to Flores’ work computer.

“This investigation revealed what we find all too often in these cases, that child pornography suspects are often involved in the actual sexual abuse of children.” said Brad Bench, acting special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Seattle. “Children have the right to be safe from predators. That’s why we will continue to vigorously investigate these cases and seek justice for the victims.” Prosecutors had asked for a sentence of 27 years in prison.  “There is an overriding need to protect the public in this case.  He is a dangerous man, and continues to harbor deviant fantasies involving the sexual exploitation of children.  There is no reason to believe he will ever stop preying on children if he is released.  Similarly, deterrence is an important factor here -- not only for this defendant, but for the public at large, and any other individual who might be tempted to sexually abuse children,” prosecutors wrote in their sentencing memo.

Under the terms of the plea agreement, Flores must register as a sex offender when released from prison.

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.

The case was investigated by the Seattle Police Department and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI).

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jerrod Patterson.  Patterson coordinates Project Safe Childhood for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

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