Child Porn Conviction

A 70-year-old Solvang man cut a deal this week with the District Attorney’s Office related to the child pornography counts he faced. Richard Haenel, charged with possession and distribution of child pornography, will serve one year in County Jail and five years of felony probation for his crimes. He will also have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life and pay restitution to one of the children shown in a video he downloaded.

An April search of Haenel’s computer and backup storage devices yielded mutliple videos of children being sexually abused. According to the District Attorney’s Office — whose investigators worked with the Los Angeles-based Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force on the case — Haenel isn’t suspected of participating in the assaults but of downloading the videos of the assaults online.

“Child pornography has serious and long-lasting negative psychological and physiological effects on the children who were video-recorded and photographed while being sexually exploited, sexually abused, and molested,” said prosecutor Anne Nudson. “Collectors and distributors of child pornography re-victimize these children every time the videos and photos are viewed on the internet, downloaded, or redistributed. The Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office will continue to investigate and prosecute individuals who seek out, view, and share child pornography online.”

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