Man who operated child-porn Web sites gets 16 years in prison

NASHVILLE — A Nashville man who blogged from a federal prison in Kentucky about his experiences operating illegal child-pornography Web sites has been sentenced to 16 years in prison.

Timothy Ryan "Casey" Richards, 27, was sentenced Friday in federal court for 11 child pornography-related offenses. According to testimony, Richards ran several commercial Web sites depicting adolescent boys engaged in sexually explicit activity, until his arrest on Sept. 22, 2005.

After a 2½ -week trial in October 2006, he was convicted of producing, distributing, conspiring to distribute, advertising and possessing child pornography, and of violating the record-keeping requirements associated with the distribution of sexually explicit material.

While awaiting sentencing, he wrote out his blog updates from the federal prison in Leitchfield, and he dictated them to friends and supporters in Nashville and elsewhere. They posted his words online or recorded them for Podcasts.

Trial testimony also showed that Richards traveled with a minor to foreign countries, including Australia and Iceland, where he filmed and photographed sexually explicit activity with the minor.

On the blogs, Richards complained about being targeted by the government for being gay, claiming that he was a scapegoat in a national investigation.

Richards was caught up in a multi-state prosecution prompted by a 2005 New York Times report that featured an underage Internet porn star.

Prosecutors had cited portions of Richards' blogs in a sentencing recommendation — one of them Richards' theory that a certain prison guard is secretly gay.

His blogs included a running account of his incarceration and sexual fantasies and dreams.

He was given the maximum prison sentence.