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Shaffer Sentenced for Sexually Assaulting Toddler and Possessing Child Porn

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Louisa County Press Release

Friday Louisa County Commonwealth's Attorney Tom Garrett announced that Judge Richard Cullen sentenced Richard Michael Price Shaffer, 23, Bumpass, of 15 counts of possession of child pornography and one count of aggravated sexual battery of a toddler to 50 years with all but 10 suspended.       

A computer from Shaffer's residence attempted to send an image of child pornography over e-mail in the summer of 2009.  His internet service provider forwarded a cybertip to the SOVA Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force "ICAC" who started an investigation.  The SOVA ICAC identified the image sent from Shaffer's computer and Detective Patrick Siewert of the Louisa County Sheriff's Office seized the computer.  Detective Siewert performed a forensic examination of the computer where he found numerous images of downloaded child pornography.  The images documented the abuse of toddlers and prepubescent children engaged in sex acts with adult males.  The cybertip about Shaffer's computer made it believable when a toddler disclosed sexual abuse.  

At the sentencing hearing Deputy Commonwealth Attorney Rusty McGuire argued "the ICAC investigation saved this child from a lifetime of abuse.  Without the cybertip, I am not sure others would have believed the child was actually abused.  Children under six are the most vulnerable in our system because it is difficult for adults to believe the allegations and courts to accept their testimony.  This case is a victory for our children.  While a toddler could not have testified in court we still obtained a conviction based on the work of the ICAC task force."

This case confirms the results of the Bourke Hernandez study from Butner Prison that found over 80% of those convicted of internet facilitated crimes against children are dual offenders that also prey on local children.  When the defendant is released from prison he will be eligible for evaluation as a sexually violent predator from the Office of the Attorney General where he will face civil commitment until he is no longer a threat to children. 

Rusty E. McGuire
Chief Deputy Commonwealth
Louisa County