A former Sheriff’s Deputy in Florida has been sentenced in a child exploitation case that dated back to December of 2019.
U.S. District Judge Timothy J. Corrigan has sentenced Travis Ryan Pritchard, 38, Green Cove Springs to 35 years in federal prison for producing an image of a 15-year-old child being sexually abused and one count of possessing an image of a prepubescent child being sexually abused. Pritchard was also ordered to serve a lifetime term of supervised release and to register as a sex offender. Pritchard had pleaded guilty on October 21, 2020.
According to court documents, Pritchard was employed as a deputy with the Clay County Sheriff’s Office, assigned to the DUI unit, at the time of the offenses.
From December 2019 through May 2, 2020, Pritchard used a popular online chat application (app) to communicate with a 15-year-old girl whom he had sexually abused on a weekly basis.
On April 29, 2020, an undercover detective from the Green Cove Springs Police Department assumed the child’s online identity and continued chatting with Pritchard using the online chat app. 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 her 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 to pick her up 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 cellular telephone revealed many conversations between the child and Pritchard, as well as an encrypted digital folder containing numerous visual depictions of child sexual abuse.
This included an image of the sexual abuse of the 15-year-old produced at the direction of Pritchard, as well as an image of the rape of a prepubescent female child.
“All child sexual abuse is appalling, but when this crime is committed by someone in a position of trust, it is beyond comprehension,” said HSI Jacksonville Assistant Special Agent in Charge K. Jim Phillips. “Thanks to our HSI special agents and our local law enforcement partners, this perpetrator will no longer be in a position to harm children.”
“The Green Cove Springs Police Department is committed to serving our community and protecting our citizens against all evil, even when that evil comes hiding behind a badge,” said Commander John Guzman. “As a law enforcement officer, Mr. Pritchard betrayed those who trusted him the most and now he will have to pay for his crimes.”
This case was investigated by the Green Cove Springs Police Department and Homeland Security Investigations. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kelly S. Karase.
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