Area teacher sentenced to federal prison

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Historic City News learned that a case investigated by the Jacksonville Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation as part of a nationwide initiative to combat sexual exploitation and abuse of children, has concluded in the conviction of a former Duval County school teacher.

Today, US District Judge Marcia Morales Howard sentenced 55 year-old Ripley Ridenour of Jacksonville to 210 months in federal prison for receipt of child pornography — and lifetime supervised release.

The FBI obtained a search warrant and seized several computer related items from Ridenour’s residence. Forensic examination of the computer media revealed over 200 images of child pornography, approximately 11 videos, and various chats discussing Ridenour’s sexual interest in young children. The Court ordered Ridenour to forfeit computer media used as part of the crime and to register under federal and state law as a sex offender.

According to court documents, in early-2009, the Federal Bureau of Investigation began investigating the use of file sharing software to trade child pornography over the Internet.

During the course of this investigation the FBI identified Ridenour’s computer as having numerous child pornography images available for downloading over the Internet.

In May 2010 the FBI made contact with Ridenour at his residence in Jacksonville. He agreed to speak with the FBI and stated that he used his computer to obtain child pornography over the Internet. Ridenour pled guilty on August 30, 2010.

Project Safe Childhood, launched by the Department of Justice in May 2006 to prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, is led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section.

Marshals, federal, state, and local resources are employed by Project Safe Childhood to better locate and apprehend criminals as well as to identify and rescue victims of child exploitation.

For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.

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