Bend man pleads guilty to child pornography counts
Attorney General John Kroger announced today that a Bend man had been sentenced to nearly 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to child pornography and child abuse charges.
"I'm committed to protecting children from exploitation," said Attorney General Kroger.
Rick Lee Prather, 35, pleaded guilty Monday to a 16-count indictment, which includes charges of using a child in a display of sexually explicit conduct and encouraging child sexual abuse in the first degree. He received a 115-month prison sentence. Because the charges are Measure 11 crimes, Prather is not eligible for early release.
Prather admitted persuading three underage girls to send sexually explicit photographs of themselves to his cell phone.
The crimes occurred in Deschutes County between February 2007 and December 2008. Prather was indicted in February of this year.
Prather's arrest and conviction followed an investigation by the Oregon Department of Justice's Internet Crimes against Children (ICAC) unit, which investigates and prosecutes predators who use the internet to target children for sexual exploitation. The unit works with district attorneys, law enforcement agencies and regional task forces that investigate online predators. Budget cuts threatened to end the program in Oregon, but Attorney General Kroger made restoring funding a top public safety priority. Last month, Kroger announced that the Oregon Department of Justice had received a $665,000 federal stimulus grant to keep the program running.
Since 2005, 108 internet predators who targeted Oregon children have been convicted as a result of ICAC investigations.
ICAC is the only program in Oregon that is equipped with the necessary resources to catch sex predators throughout the state. The ICAC unit has worked in cooperation with more than 160 law enforcement agencies around Oregon.
Senior Assistant Attorney General Michael Slauson of the Oregon Department of Justice prosecuted the case in cooperation with the Deschutes County District Attorney's Office.
Attorney General John Kroger leads the Oregon Department of Justice. The Department's mission is to fight crime and fraud, protect the environment, improve child welfare, and defend the rights of all Oregonians.
Tony Green, (503) 378-6002 firstname.lastname@example.org