A 41-year-old Allen, Texas man has been sentenced for child pornography violations in the Eastern District of Texas.
Richard Denver Belden pleaded guilty on June 20, 2019, to receipt and possession of child pornography and was sentenced to 420 months in federal prison by U.S. District Judge Amos Mazzant on Feb. 6, 2020.
According to information presented in court, in May 2018, a detective with the Plano Police Department was conducting an undercover investigation into Internet programs know for trading child pornography and located a user, later identified as Belden, who was making a large quantity of child pornography available for download. Over the course of two days, the detective downloaded over 4,000 images and videos of child pornography from Belden.
Members of the Collin County Sheriff’s Office obtained a search warrant for Belden’s apartment, in Allen, Texas and on May 15, 2018, the Sheriff’s Office and Plano Police Department executed the search warrant. Upon entering the residence, they discovered Belden actively downloading and distributing child pornography on a laptop computer. In addition to the laptop, Belden owned a tower containing 15 hard drives, totaling 57 TB of storage. The Plano Police Department and FBI child exploitation task force spent months forensically analyzing Belden’s digital media. Officers located thousands of images and videos of child pornography, including depictions of children as young as toddlers and depictions of sadistic or masochistic abuse. Belden was indicted by a federal grand jury in June 2018.
During the sentencing hearing, a Plano Police Department Detective testified about the undercover investigation, the forensic review of Belden’s devices, and the content of those devices. Belden’s sentencing guidelines included a term of imprisonment of 210 to 262 months. The government requested that the Judge vary upward and impose a sentence of 420 months. Based on Belden’s history and characteristics and the nature and circumstances of his offense, Judge Mazzant granted the government’s motion and sentenced Belden to a total term of 420 months (35 years) imprisonment, to be followed by 20 years of supervised release.
“These types of cases show the real depravity of parts of our society,” said U.S. Attorney Joseph D. Brown. “We are fortunate that law enforcement is out there looking for these people.”
“Today’s result is the product of the outstanding collaboration between the FBI and its local partners,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Matthew J. DeSarno. “The FBI, through the North Texas Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force, will continue to work tirelessly to keep our kids safe. This lengthy sentence will hopefully serve as a warning for all those who would seek to prey on the most vulnerable among us.”
This case was prosecuted 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.<http://www.projectsafechildhood.gov.>
This case was investigated by the North Texas Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force, which is made up of FBI agents and officers from the Dallas, Plano and Grand Prairie Police Departments and Collin County Sheriff’s Office and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Marisa Miller.