Saturday, July 25, 2009

Richard Lee Minch Pleads Guilty to Child Porn

United States Attorneys have announced that a Wyoming man pled guilty to charges of extortion and child pornography.

They say Richard Lee Minch, 48, from Wyoming attempted to extort money from a business by threatening to shoot the employee and that he produced images of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct. Minch will be sentenced in the near future.

According to a press release from U.S. Attorney Donald Davis, Minch faces a sentence of 15 to 50 years in prison and fines up to $500,000.

Investigators say that from November 2, 2008, to January 15, 2009, Minch made multiple threatening and harassing phone calls to stores, restaurants and tanning salons in more than ten states. They say if a female answered the business phone Minch claimed that he had a gun pointed at her and others from outside and threatened to shoot her if she did not follow his instructions.

Minch sometimes demanded money and then asked sexually suggestive questions of the females, including having them describe their body and clothing. In some cases he demanded the victims perform a sexual act on themselves or someone else.

Also, investigators say Minch called minor girls advertising babysitting services on Craigslist. They say he convinced a 13-year-old that he was a CIA Operative and she followed his instructions to take naked photographs of herself.

The release also detailed his criminal history. It says:

1. In 1979, Minch was convicted of indecent exposure after an incident where he blocked the path of a young woman walking with her baby, exposed his penis and began masturbating.

2. In 1984, Minch was again convicted of indecent exposure for exposing his penis to two fourteen-year-old girls outside of Wyoming High School.

3. The same year, Minch, then 24 years-old, sexually molested a six-year old child.

4. In January 1992, Minch was convicted for Attempted Criminal Sexual Conduct in the third degree after he stole a young woman's purse and jacket and then attempted to lure her into a wooded area claiming he had found her belongings. Minch was found hiding in the woods nearby possessing a ski mask, handcuffs, gloves, wire cord, a plastic gun, a knife, a jar of Vaseline, and various sex toys.

5. In June 1994, Minch was convicted of felony extortion and indecent exposure for calling a Mother Hubbard convenience store, claiming to have a gun trained on the store, demanding money, and then instructing the female attendant to commit sexual acts on herself. Police located Minch pulled up next to a pay phone, masturbating in his car. Having violated his probation from the 1992 conviction, Minch was sentenced to prison on August 9, 1994, and was discharged on June 25, 2005.

6. On October 1, 2005, less than four months later, Minch was convicted of trespassing in an area where there had been complaints of a male exposing himself and masturbating while wearing a ski mask. Upon arrest, police found a ski mask in his car.

7. In November 2005, Defendant was convicted of failure to register as a sex offender.

The investigation was done by the FBI, the FBI Violent Crimes Fugitive Task Force in Grand Rapids, the Kent County Sheriff's Department, the Grand Rapids Police Department and other investigators from across the country.

The United States Attorney's Office of Western Michigan also credited the arrest as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. The project partners work to educate local communities about the dangers of online child exploitation and to teach children how to protect themselves.

For more on Project Safe Childhood, click here.

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