Jacksonville, FL –Travis Ryan Pritchard (37, Green Cove Springs) Wednesday, pleaded guilty to one count of producing an image of a child being sexually abused and one count of possessing an image of a prepubescent child being sexually abused. He faces a minimum mandatory penalty of 15 years, and up to 50 years, in federal prison, as well as a life term of supervised release.
Pritchard was indicted on May 20, 2020.
According to the plea agreement, at the time of the offenses, Pritchard was employed as a deputy with the Clay County Sheriff’s Office and was assigned to the DUI unit. From December 2019 through May 2, 2020, Pritchard used an online chat application to communicate in a sexual manner with a 15-year-old child. Beginning on April 29, 2020, an undercover detective from the Green Cove Springs Police Department assumed the child’s identity and continued chatting with Pritchard using the online chat application. Late in the night of May 1, 2020, and into the early morning hours of the next day, Pritchard encouraged the “child” to sneak out of the child’s home to meet with him for a “quickie.” In anticipation of their meeting, he sent the “child” a photograph of himself from the waist down, wearing only boxer shorts. At approximately 2:00 a.m. on May 2, 2020, Pritchard arrived near the child’s home in his patrol vehicle, and sent the “child” a message saying, “I’m here.” A short time later, Pritchard was arrested by officers from the Green Cove Springs Police Department.
A forensic review of Pritchard’s cellphone yielded multiple conversations between the child and Pritchard, as well as an encrypted secure digital folder that contained multiple depictions of child sexual abuse.
This case was investigated by the Green Cove Springs Police Department and Homeland Security Investigations. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kelly S. Karase.
This is another case brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, 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, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims.