Chesterfield man sentenced to 12 years in jail for child pornography

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CHESTERFIELD (WSLS 10) - A Chesterfield man will serve 12 years in jail for child pornography charges.

55-year-old Ronald Wilbur Ridout Jr., of Chesterfield County, was sentenced on Tuesday to 50 years in prison with 38 years suspended in Chesterfield County Circuit Court for electronically transmitting child pornography. Virginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring made the announcement after the defendant pleaded guilty and was sentenced by Judge Thomas Warren.

"Twelve years of active time, with an additional 38 years hanging over him, is more than justified given Ridout's prior record of abusing children in central Virginia," said Attorney General Herring. "I really appreciate the hard work of OAG prosecutors, Chesterfield Police, the SOVA ICAC, and our partners in the Chesterfield Commonwealth's Attorney's office who helped bring this case to a successful conclusion."

According to court records and evidence presented at the plea hearing, the case against the defendant began in February 2015 when an officer with the Chesterfield County Police Department received a tip that, on January 5, 2015, a computer located in Chesterfield County had uploaded images of child pornography to a cloud-storage service via the Internet.  Further investigation revealed that the email address associated with the account to which the images were uploaded belonged to Ridout.  Chesterfield police also discovered that the images of child pornography were uploaded from Ridout's residence in Chesterfield County.  Based on this information, Chesterfield police obtained a search warrant for Ridout's residence, which was executed on February 12, 2015.

During the search, officers encountered Ridout, who, after being told he was not under arrest, agreed to be interviewed.  Ridout admitted owning and using the email address associated with the uploaded child pornography files.  He also admitted downloading several images of child pornography from the Internet and then subsequently uploading those images to the cloud-storage account associated with his email address.  After storing the images in his cloud account for a couple of days, Ridout said he deleted the images.

Ridout is a convicted sex offender.  In 2005, he was convicted of aggravated sexual battery and taking indecent liberties with a child in Henrico County Circuit Court and sentenced to 15 years' imprisonment with 11 years suspended.  In addition, following the search of his residence in this investigation, Ridout was charged with, and convicted of, failing to properly register as a sex offender in Chesterfield County Circuit Court, for which he was sentenced to 3 years in prison with 3 years suspended.