ABOVE: Stock image (Source unknown)
BUTTE COUNTY // A 57-year-old man has been sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for possession and distribution of child pornography, in addition to being under active investigation for sexual assault in another state.
On January 19th, Detective Miller of the Butte County Sheriff’s Office received word from the Sacramento High Task Force for Crimes Against Children, of which he is a member, that someone had been downloading and sharing child pornography in the Butte County Area.
Crimes Against Children had received the tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (commonly abbreviated NCMEC).
Miller quickly began an investigation into the subject, identified as 57-year-old Ricky Leach.
In addition to Miller’s discovery that Leach was already a sex registrant, NCMEC also forwarded a tip that Leach had been downloading and distributing child porn in New Mexico.
Miller drew up a search warrant for a home in Gridley, California, where Leach was believed to be staying, and ended up recovering several computers and cell phones containing over 60,000 images of child pornography. On January 28th, Leach was interviewed and arrested.
As the investigation unfolded, Miller also discovered images of Leach himself sexually assaulting a minor, which was later corroborated in an interview with the victim. These incidents, which occurred in New Mexico, were promptly reported to state authorities, who began an investigation of their own.
Meanwhile, the case went to trial in Butte County. Based on Leach’s criminal history, this constitutes a third-strike offense. He was found guilty for possession and distribution of child pornography and has been sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.
The investigation in New Mexico is still ongoing.