U.S. Attorney's Office - Eastern Dist. of Wash.
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News Release
Liberty Lake Man Sentenced to Federal Prison and Ordered to Pay $60,000 in Victim Restitution for Child Pornography Crime - 05/24/24

Spokane, Washington - Vanessa R. Waldref, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced today that Rick Lynn Johnson, age 69, of Liberty Lake, Washington, was sentenced after pleading guilty to Receipt of Child Pornography. United States District Judge Thomas O. Rice imposed a sentence of 60 months imprisonment to be followed by 5 years of supervised release. Judge Rice also ordered Johnson to pay $60,000 in restitution to seven of his victims, as well as $10,000 in special assessments under the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act and the Amy, Vicky, and Andy Child Pornography Victim Assistance Act. 

According to court documents and information presented at the sentencing hearing, between May 30, 2021, and June 16, 2022, federal law enforcement successfully downloaded numerous child pornography files from Johnson. In November 2022, federal agents executed a search warrant at Johnson’s home in Liberty Lake and seized a phone, computers, and hard drives. Forensic analysis of these devices revealed approximately 2,506 images and approximately 97 videos of child pornography. The images and videos included depictions of minors younger than 12 years old. Johnson later admitted to using his phone and computer to download and share child pornography with others online during the last year. 

“All children should be safe from sexual predators. Protecting children from harm, especially online exploitation, remains a priority of my office and is critical to building a safe and strong Eastern Washington community, stated U.S. Attorney Waldref. “I am grateful for the excellent work by Homeland Security Investigations and AUSA Ann Wick in securing justice for these victims. While nothing can undo the harm these victims endured, the restitution order provides a mechanism to provide these victims the support they rightfully deserve.” 

“Child pornography, or Child Sexual Assault Material (CSAM) perpetuates the exploitation and abuse of children, inflicting lifelong trauma that HSI along with our investigative partners are combating every single day,” said Special Agent in Charge Robert Hammer, who oversees HSI operations in the Pacific Northwest. “Any image or video that depicts the exploitation of a child acts like a digital scar and encourages an economy of abuse that can only be deflated by protecting our children from child predators, while ensuring those who have been harmed receive justice.”

The Amy, Vicky, and Andy Child Pornography Victim Assistance Act of 2018 (AVAA), enacted on December 7, 2018, created new penalties and made a number of changes to existing child pornography laws, specifically providing that restitution must be ordered for all child pornography trafficking offenses in an amount of no less than $3,000 per victim.  The AVAA also established a new reserve fund that will be funded by assessments imposed under the Act, and victims of child pornography may be entitled to a one-time payment from the fund if they have not otherwise received restitution covering their losses.

The Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act (JVTA) created a mandatory $5,000 special assessment that applies to “non­indigent” defendants for each count of conviction of certain offenses, including child pornography offenses.  The assessment is contributed to the “Domestic Trafficking Victims’ Fund,” which is used to support victims of trafficking.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States Attorney’s Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov 

This case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Ann Wick.

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