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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Former Pastor Indicted for Distribution, Receipt, and Possession of Child Pornography


DENVER—Richard Howard Craft, age 68, of Thornton, Colorado, surrendered to the FBI this week after being indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of distribution, receipt, and possession of child pornography, Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division Lanny Breuer, United States Attorney John Walsh, and FBI Denver Special Agent in Charge James Yacone announced. Craft was a former interim pastor of Family of Christ Presbyterian Church of Greeley. Craft appeared before a U.S. Magistrate Judge on August 22, 2012, where he waived advisement on the charges pending against him and the penalties associated with those charges. He is scheduled to next appear in court today, August 24, 2012, at 10:00 a.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael J. Watanabe for a detention hearing and arraignment.

The indictment, which was returned by the grand jury on August 20, 2012, alleges that Craft knowingly distributed and attempted to distribute child pornography that has been shipped and transported in interstate and foreign commerce by any means, including by computer, between July 2007 and January 2008 as well as in December 2009. Further, the indictment states that Craft knowingly received and attempted to receive child pornography that has been shipped and transported in interstate and foreign commerce by any means, including by computer, in August 2007. Finally, Craft was charged with possession of child pornography that has been shipped and transported in interstate and foreign commerce by any means, including by computer, between July 2007 and January 2008.

The indictment also includes an asset forfeiture allegation, which states that upon conviction, Craft shall forfeit any and all of his rights, title, and interest in the child pornography images, the computers containing child pornography, and any other real or personal property used or intended to be used to commit or promote the commission of the offenses alleged in the indictment.

According to the facts contained in an affidavit in support of a search warrant of Craft’s residence in Thornton, on December 23, 2009, an FBI special agent in Philadelphia, operating in an undercover capacity accessed the Internet and connected to a publicly available peer-to-peer file sharing program. The FBI agent observed numerous files depicting child pornography. Further investigation revealed that the files were being shared from Craft’s computer located at his residence.

“No matter your position or station in life, if you are involved in child pornography you will face criminal consequences,” said U.S. Attorney John Walsh.

“The FBI’s Innocent Images Task Force is committed to investigating and prosecuting individuals who have violated the trust placed in them by the communities they serve and children that may possibly be placed in their care,” said FBI Denver Special Agent in Charge James Yacone.

If convicted of the two counts of distribution and attempted distribution of child pornography, Craft faces not less than five years, and not more than 20 years in federal prison, as well as a $250,000 fine per count. If convicted of the one count of receipt and attempted receipt of child pornography, Craft faces not less than five years, and not more than 20 years’ imprisonment, as well as a $250,000 fine. If convicted of possession of child pornography, Craft faces not more than 10 years’ imprisonment.

This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Innocent Images Task Force.

Craft is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Alecia Riewerts Wolak and Ryan Bergsieker and Department of Justice Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section Trial Attorney Michael Grant.

The charges contained in the indictment are allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood (PSC), a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, PSC marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about PSC, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc. For more information about Internet safety education, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc/resources.html and click on the tab “Resources.”

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