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Tyndall JAG convicted in underage sex case

Feb. 26, 2013 - 10:47AM   |   Last Updated: Feb. 26, 2013 - 10:47AM  |  
Lt. Col. James Richards, was convicted of indecent acts with a child younger than 16, possession of child pornography and violating no-contact orders after a three-day court-martial that ended Feb. 21 at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla.. The former JAG was sentenced to 17 years in a military prison, forfeiture of all pay and allowances and dismissal from the Air Force, a base news release said. Dismissal is the officer equivalent of a dishonorable discharge.
Lt. Col. James Richards, was convicted of indecent acts with a child younger than 16, possession of child pornography and violating no-contact orders after a three-day court-martial that ended Feb. 21 at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla.. The former JAG was sentenced to 17 years in a military prison, forfeiture of all pay and allowances and dismissal from the Air Force, a base news release said. Dismissal is the officer equivalent of a dishonorable discharge. (Courtesy of Bay County, Fla., Sheriff's Office)
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A military judge has convicted a Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., lieutenant colonel of indecent acts with a child younger than 16, possession of child pornography and violating no-contact orders.

James W. Richards, who chose to be tried by a judge rather than a jury during a three-day court-martial that ended Feb. 21, was sentenced to 17 years in a military prison, forfeiture of all pay and allowances and dismissal from the Air Force, a base news release said. Dismissal is the officer equivalent of a dishonorable discharge.

The Bay County, Fla., sheriff's office arrested Richards, 40, in November 2011 for traveling to meet a minor for sex. The Air Force Office of Special Investigations had contacted the sheriff's office after receiving a complaint that Richards had molested a 10-year-old boy about a decade earlier in Texas, according to the sheriff's news release. OSI began surveillance of Richards and found he was picking up a 17-year-old boy in Bay County and taking him to his home for several hours at a time, it said.

OSI contacted the sheriff's office for help with the case. The boy told authorities he met Richards in an online gaming chat room and that they had begun a sexual relationship nine months earlier, when he was 16.

Richards was found guilty on all the charges he faced, which included five specifications of an indecent act with a child and four specifications of violating a no-contact order.

Richards was a judge advocate general assigned to the Air Force Legal Operations Agency in the utilities litigation team stationed at Tyndall, 2nd Lt. Andrea Valencia said in an email.

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