Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Leon Frederick Richards - Repeat Sex Offender

A 34-year-old Harford County man has been indicted by a county grand jury on 23 counts of sexual offenses, production and possession of child pornography, stalking and sexual solicitation of a minor.

Leon Frederick Richards Jr. of Street, a registered sex offender, was arrested this month after an 11-year-old told police that a man was making comments and gestures at her from his truck. In August and September, police had received similar complaints about a man in a truck who was making sexual comments to children.

Richards was indicted Tuesday on six counts of stalking, six counts of sexual solicitation of a minor and three counts of sexual offense, four counts of the production of child pornography, three counts of possession of child pornography with the intent to distribute and one count of possession of child pornography.

He is being held without bond in the Harford County Detention Center.

After a conviction in 2000 for child abuse, Richards' name was placed on the Sex Offender Registry.

Sex offenders are required by law to register their home address twice a year, and they cannot go to a school or day care center without written permission.

"The registry, it's great to know who the offenders are, but it's not necessarily going to prevent" an offense, said Sgt. David Betz of the Harford County Child Advocacy Center. "It's more like an awareness tool."

Richards served an 18-month sentence after his conviction and was put on five years of probation, which he violated in 2002 when he had unsupervised contact with a 12-year-old boy, according to court documents.

"Unfortunately, the probation expired," said Harford County Assistant State's Attorney Bruce Smith. "There was nothing else that could be done legally to make him stay away from children. The judge had imposed five years of supervised probation and under Maryland law, that's the maximum."

Investigators found photographs of children, ages 4 to late teens, performing sexual acts, and authorities believe the photos were taken from 2006 to the present, according to Harford County State's Attorney Joseph Cassilly.

Investigators are attempting to identify five children in the photographs, Smith said.

Anyone with relevant information can contact the Child Advocacy Center at 410-638-3294.

No comments: