East Hampton teacher Richard D. Hendricks was sentenced to more than 10 years in prison on Monday for charges of child sexual exploitation.
Hendricks, 32, of Ashford, a former computer teacher at East Hampton Middle School, received a 121-month imprisonment, followed by five years of supervised release, the U.S. Justice Department announced in a news release.
He was accused of purchasing Internet live sex shows involving minors from approximately October 2009 to April 2010. The shows originated in the Philippines, federal authorities said.
“This solemn but important prosecution revealed that the defendant, a middle school teacher, paid for and viewed live webcasts showing the sexual abuse of children overseas, and voyeuristically photographed and videotaped female students in his classroom,” said U.S. Attorney David B. Fein said in a news release. “His criminal behavior represents an extreme violation of trust, which we at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, along with our law enforcement investigative partners, are committed to combating.”
Bruce M. Foucart, a Homeland Securies Investigations special agent assigned to the case, called the possession of child porn by a teacher “one of the most heartbreaking violations of trust imaginable.”
“We have an obligation to ensure that individuals who hold positions of trust in our community are held accountable for their actions,” Foucart said. “Today’s sentence is a stern reminder about the consequences awaiting those who use the Internet to sexually exploit innocent children.”
HSI agents seized two laptop computers, one desktop computer and two external hard drives from Hendrick’s home in June of 2011. A forensic evaluation revealed that the teacher used his computer to receive numerous images and video files of child pornography, including images of children under the age of 12, and images portraying sadistic or masochistic conduct or other depictions of violence, officials said.
Investigators also discovered numerous images and videos of Hendricks’ students at East Hampton Middle School.
While many of the pictures were related to Hendricks’ duties as yearbook advisor, investigators discovered that Hendricks secretly took voyeuristic photos and videos of female students in his classroom.
He also manipulated some of these images to enhance their visibility, and used a software program to attempt to visualize the private areas of clothed girls.
During the course of the investigation, parental notification was made when investigators identified children who Hendricks secretly photographed or video recorded.
Hendricks has been detained since his arrest on June 9, 2011. On January 19, 2012, he pleaded guilty to one count of receipt of child pornography.