Tag Archives: child pornography

Former Royse City minister sentenced to 17 years in prison for child porn

Steve R.

Former Royse City minister Steve Richardson was sentenced yesterday to 17 years in federal prison, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, after pleading guilty in March to sending and possessing child pornography from his church office computer to others via the Internet.

The 36-year-old former pastor of the First United Methodist Church in Royse City was sentenced in Dallas by U.S. District Judge Sam A. Lindsay, who also ordered him to register as a sex offender and serve a lifetime of supervised release, according to federal prosecutors.

Suspended after the arrest from his ministerial position last December by the North Texas Conference of United Methodist Church, the husband and father of three children has been in federal custody since his Sept. 24 arrest by U.S. ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) agents.

The arrest came after an undercover investigation by a federal agent who communicated with Richardson over Google Hello, an Internet service that enabled users to share photos via their computers, but has since been shut down.

Richardson, who used the identity of “cowboyspades,” admitted sending an image of a minor and possessing an external hard drive that contained more than 600 images of child pornography. Agents had seized a computer containing images of child pornography from his church office, said Acting U.S. Attorney James T. Jacks.

The former minister had pleaded guilty in March to one count of possessing child pornography and one count of transporting and shipping child pornography. He had faced a maximum of 20 years on the transporting charge, 10 years on the possession charge and a $250,000 fine on each charge.

Guilty plea expected in former Royse City pastor’s child porn case


Former Royse City pastor Steve Richardson from his MySpace. com site

Former Royse City pastor Steve Richardson is expected to plead guilty next month to federal charges that he possessed and trafficked in child pornography on his church’s computers.

According to the U.S. District Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas , Richardson entered into a plea agreement with prosecutors Feb. 11, and agreed to plead guilty to two federal counts of transporting and shipping child pornography, plus possession of child pornography.

Richardson is now set to be rearraigned, and is expected to enter the guilty pleas March 19, at 9 am, before Magistrate Judge Irma C Ramirez in Dallas.

The former pastor of United Methodist Church in Royse City is facing a maximum sentence on the transporting count of between five and 20 years in prison, restitution, plus a possible term of supervised release of from five years to life following any term of imprisonment.

A fine of up to $250,000 is also possible.

For the possession charge, he is facing a maximum of up to 10 years in prison, a fine, supervised release and restitution.

His attorney, Roger E. Haynes of Dallas, could not be reached for comment.

Richardson, 36, was arrested last Sept. 24 by agents with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Under the plea agreement, Richardson has agreed to relinquish his rights to computers which were seized from the church.

He told prosecutors that other church officials were unaware of his use of the computers.

According to a press release issued by the U.S. Attorney’s office, Richardson used Google “Hello” software to view and distribute the pornography, using the name  “cowboyspades.”