Tag Archives: Pastor Steve Richardson

Former Royse City pastor pleads guilty to child porn charges

steve-richardson

Former Royse City United Methodist Church Pastor Steve Richardson

The former pastor of First United Methodist Church in Royse City pleaded guilty today to two child pornography charges.

Steve Richardson, 36, pleaded guilty to transporting and shipping child pornography, and possession of child pornography, said acting U.S. Attorney James T. Jacks of the U.S. Attorney’s office of Texas’ Northern District.

Richardson communicated with an undercover agent through Google Hello, which allows users to chat and exchange files via the Internet, the U.S. Attorney’s office said.

He used the identity of “cowboysspades.”

Authorities seized a computer containing child pornography from his church office in September, 2008, the U.S. Attorney’s office said.

Richardson admitted to possessing more than 600 images of child pornography and trading images with Google Hello users.

Sentencing is now scheduled for June 15. He faces a sentence of up to 20 years for the transporting charge and up to 10 years for the possession charge. Each charge carries a maximum fine of $250,000.

After his arrest, Richardson was suspended from ministerial duties by Bishop W. Earl Bledsoe of the North Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church.

Richardson later surrendered his credentials and is no longer a United Methodist pastor.

Royse City United Methodist Church now has a new pastor.

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

steve-richardson

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.”


Who is “Pastor” Steve Richardson?

“Pastor” Steve Richardson

(Click on photo to enlarge)

Just who is “Pastor” Steve Richardson, anyway?

According to his MySpace.com website, he’s a 36-year-old
“united methodist preacher serving a church just east of dallas in the great town of royse city.”

He’s been “married for almost 13 years to heidi” and they have three children: robert (9). sean (7) and zuri (6 months).

Following the MySpace form, he writes that he’s a “Straight, White/Caucasian, “Pisces,” Protestant, who’s a “Proud Parent” and “Post Grad” whose hometown is “Plano.”

He further reveals that he graduated from SMU (Southern Methodist University) in 2000 with a Master of Divinity Degree, which he started upon graduation from UNT (University of North Texas) in 1996 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing. He was also a member of the Kappa Alpha fraternity.

Richardson says he loves “all types of music. i grew up listening to heavy metal bands of the 80s but then fell in love with country. now i love it all – hip hop to christian.”

He writes that his favorite TV shows are “24, if it ever returns,” and “i do love ‘earl’ and ‘office.’

He’s had three “friends” post messages on his site since being arrested, with comments ranging from “You’re a good man, Steve,” to “Praying for you, Heidi and the kids” to “We’re all here for you.”

Royse City pastor has admitted to child porn charges, authorities say

Royse City First Methodist Church pastor Steve Richardson has admitted to transporting child pornography using his church office computer, according to the federal agents who arrested him Sept. 24.

Pastor Steve Richardson was arraigned in a federal court Sept. 25 on charges of transporting child porn.

In a statement released by U.S. Attorney Richard B. Roper, Richardson admitted he viewed and transported images of child pornography using Google’s Hello Internet site. The images even included several images of infants engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

Richardson’s arrest was made after a long-term investigation by federal Immigration Customs Enforcement (I.C.E.) that involved at least two other persons.

According to Roper’s statement, the investigation began in August 2007 when ICE agents executed a search warrant in a child pornography investigation at the residence of an individual who allowed agents to use his online presence on Google Hello to communicate with individuals involved in distributing child pornography.

The unnamed indvidual told ICE agents that one of the screen names that he remembered receiving images from was “CowboySpades.” An examination of the Google site showed that cowboyspades had sent at least 30 “homemade” images to him within the past three months.

According to Roper’s statement, the Google Hello records for cowboysspades lists the email address as “girlpedolover@hushmail.com.” Further investigation revealed that the Yahoo! e-mail name girlpedolover@yahoo.com is registered to Steve Richardson in Royse City, Texas, with the same IP address as one of the nine IP addresses cowboysspades used to logon to his Hello account.

The statement continues, “Further forensic investigation revealed additional chats between cowboysspades and others. In one, cowboysspades received and distributed dozens of images of child pornography, including several images of infants engaged in sexually explicit conduct.”

Richardson and his wife have two sons, plus adopted an infant girl from Ethiopia, whom they brought to the United States on May 5. There is no reference to the girl in the criminal complaint.

Richardson, who remains in federal custody, came to Royse City in August, 2006, following five years of service with the First United Methodist Church in Boyd TX.

Immediately upon hearing of Richardson’s arrest, the North Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church suspended him, saying, “The church holds the sanctity of the pastoral office and the place of the church as an environment of safety and security for all an absolute value.”

The investigation into Richardson is ongoing. Currently charged with transporting child pornography, other charges may be forthcoming.