U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said: “Richard Leaf is alleged to have engaged in deeply disturbing sexual communications with minors, and in being in possession of child pornography. Child pornography inflicts immeasurable damage upon innocent victims, and this Office and our FBI partners will continue to exhaustively detect, identify, and charge any individuals engaged in this sinister conduct. Below, the various usernames alleged to have been used by Leaf to engage with under-aged victims are listed, please call 1-800-CALL-FBI if you believe you have information helpful to this investigation.”
FBI Assistant Director William F. Sweeney Jr. said: “As our society continues to become more reliant on technology, more of our children are exposed to the most despicable predators – those searching out young children to sexually exploit them. As we allege in this case, Mr. Leaf used Skype to chat with his victims. I’d like to stress to parents that although these contacts may occur in a virtual world, they harm your children in the real world. These criminals inflict lasting damage to their victims, and both parents and guardians need to be aware of the dangers their children face. The list below provides known fake handles Mr. Leaf allegedly used to contact children. Please take a look and have a conversation with your child. If you believe they’ve been in contact with Mr. Leaf, please call us at 1-800-CALL-FBI or reach us online at tips.fbi.gov.”
According to the allegations contained in the Complaint:
Between March 2019 and April 2020, LEAF posed as a teenager named “Alex Bronson” to communicate via Skype with a minor (“Minor-1”), who LEAF believed was 15 years old. During the course of these communications, Minor-1 sent LEAF a video of himself masturbating in the shower and a fully nude photo of himself in a bedroom. In addition, law enforcement officers uncovered almost a dozen images and videos containing child pornography on LEAF’s home computer.
The Complaint further alleges that LEAF created fictitious accounts on Chat Avenue, an online chatroom website, and Skype to communicate with minors. The usernames of some of LEAF’s fictitious accounts include:
If you have information to report or if you interacted or sent under-aged photos or videos of a sexual nature to any of the above accounts, please contact the Federal Bureau of Investigation at 1-800-CALL-FBI.
* * *
LEAF, 72, of Somers, New York, is charged with one count of receiving child pornography, which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years in prison and a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, and one count of possessing child pornography, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. The statutory maximum penalty is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant would be determined by the judge.
Ms. Strauss praised the efforts of the FBI and its Westchester County Safe Streets Task Force. She added that the investigation is ongoing.
This case is being handled by the Office’s White Plains Division. Assistant United States Attorney Jennifer Ong is in charge of the prosecution.
The charge contained in the complaint is merely an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.