TAMPA, Fl. (CW69 News at 10)

PRESS RELEASE:

U.S. District Judge Steven D. Merryday today sentenced Richard Stephen Terry (56) to 10 years in federal prison, followed by a lifetime of supervised release, for attempting to entice a child to engage in sexual activity. Terry also possessed child pornography and has agreed to pay restitution to the victims depicted. Terry had pleaded guilty on February 27, 2020.

According to court documents, Terry used the internet to entice adult women to allow him to engage in sexual activities with their minor children. Agents identified Terry in multiple online chat rooms designed for individuals who are interested in the sexual exploitation of children, and he used the chat rooms to meet and discuss their interests and tactics. Terry communicated online and via text message with multiple undercover law enforcement agents located in various parts of the country between 2015 and 2017.

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Between November 2016 and April 2017, Terry communicated with a woman he believed to be a single mother of a 10-year-old girl.  In reality, he was talking to an undercover officer from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office. In his conversations, Terry proposed meeting with the child and discussed, in graphic detail, the sex acts he wished to engage in with the child when they met. In order to add more credibility and persuade the undercover officer, Terry made up a story that he had been in an incestuous relationship with his two stepdaughters when they were minors and was looking to engage in a “fam life” sexual relationship with the single mom and her daughter. Terry stated that he ultimately did not travel to meet with the undercover officer because he was “scared it’s a set up.”

In June 2017, law enforcement agents executed a search warrant at Terry’s home and found him in possession of more than 400 images and videos of child sex abuse material depicting young children being subjected to sadistic abuse and bondage. To date, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has identified 54 victims depicted in the child sex abuse material.

“This predator tried to entice a minor to engage in sexual activity,” said HSI Tampa Assistant Special Agent in Charge Michael B. Cochran. “Thanks to the investigative work of HSI special agents and our law enforcement partners at the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, this criminal will now be behind bars.”

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