Pierre Man Sentenced to Fifty Years in Federal Prison for Child Porn charges

United States Attorney Ron Parsons announced that a Pierre, South Dakota, man convicted of two counts of Aggravated Sexual Abuse of a Child, one count of Travel With Intent to Engage in Illicit Sexual Conduct, and four counts related to Transporting, Distributing, Receiving, and Possessing Child Pornography was sentenced on June 17, 2019, by U.S. District Judge Roberto A. Lange.

Amin Ricker, age 32, was sentenced to 420 months in federal prison for each count of Aggravated Sexual Abuse of a Child, and 360 months in federal prison for the count of Travel With Intent to Engage in Illicit Sexual Conduct,  with such sentences to be served concurrent.

Ricker was also sentenced to 240 months in federal prison for counts of transportation of child pornography, distribution of child pornography, receipt of child pornography, and possession of child pornography, with such sentences to be served concurrent to each other.

One hundred eighty months of the child pornography sentences will be served consecutive to the sentences for the remaining counts, with the remaining 60 months to be served concurrent.  The effect is a total combined sentence of 600 months (50 years) in federal prison.  Ricker will thereafter be placed on supervised release for the rest of his life.  Ricker was further ordered to pay $84,600 in restitution and to pay a special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund in the amount of $700.

          Ricker was indicted by a federal grand jury on April 12, 2017.  He was convicted of all charges on March 22, 2019, following a five-day jury trial in Pierre, South Dakota.

In late 2014 and early 2015, Ricker traveled from South Dakota to Texas on multiple occasions for the purpose of sexually abusing twin-seven-year-old girls, who resided in Texas with their mother.  Ricker had become acquainted with the girls and their mother through a mutual acquaintance in late 2013 or early 2014. In January 2015, and again in March 2015, Ricker created photos and videos of the sexual abuse, which he later saved and catalogued on other media storage devices.

In December 2015, one of the girls was approached by a school counselor who had concerns that she was being abused by Ricker.  Based on the girl’s disclosure, the counselor notified law enforcement.  The girls’ mother was interviewed, and made statements indicating she was aware of the abuse.  In subsequent interviews, however, neither girl disclosed any abuse.

In February 2017, law enforcement in Pierre, South Dakota, received a series of CyberTips from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) that contained information suggesting a local individual was involved in the sexual abuse of minors and the manufacture, possession, receipt, and distribution of child pornography.  Further investigation revealed Ricker was utilizing Instagram, a social networking application, to engage in sexually explicit conversations and share child pornography with other users, including minors.  By that time, Ricker was living in Pierre, having moved from Huron sometime in 2015.

On February 14, 2017, law enforcement agents of the South Dakota Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, acting on the Cybertips, executed a search warrant at the Defendant’s residence in Pierre.  The agents seized multiple electronic devices and digital media storage devices from Ricker that contained thousands of images and videos of child pornography.  As a result of the verdict, Ricker will forfeit ownership of the electronic devices and digital media storage devices that were seized.

The electronic devices and digital media storage devices seized from Ricker included digital media containing a folder entitled “Texas Twins 2015”, as well as folder corresponding to the girls’ names, which contained multiple images and videos of Ricker sexually abusing the girls.  The file properties for these images and videos indicate they were created between November 1, 2014, and March 31, 2015.  Bank records and airline records further showed Ricker traveled to Texas in January 2015, and again in March 2015, during the period the abuse images and videos were created. 

“Bringing this Defendant to justice is the result of tremendous cooperation between federal, state, and local law enforcement officers,” said U.S. Attorney Parsons.  “The federal penalties for child pornography and child sexual abuse offenses are severe for a reason, and, through his conduct, this Defendant has earned every day of the sentence he received today.”

This case was prosecuted as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative of the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorney’s Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute those who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the South Dakota Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation, the Huron Police Department, the Pierre Police Department, the Texas Department of Public Safety Texas Ranger Division, and the Bogata (TX) Police Department.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kirk Albertson and Cameron Cook prosecuted the case.

Ricker was immediately turned over to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.