- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 3, 2016

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - A Wyoming man previously convicted of sexually assaulting a child has been sentenced to nearly 20 years in prison after authorities seized the largest collection of child pornography in the U.S.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the National Internet Crimes Against Children Association say the sexually explicit images and videos of kids made up the biggest cache ever found in the country.

U.S. District Judge Nancy Freudenthal sentenced Richard Person, 63, on Tuesday to 19 years and seven months for possession of child pornography, the Wyoming Tribune Eagle reported.

Freudenthal noted that the number of hours Person had to have spent collecting, sorting, categorizing, protecting and sharing his collection of child porn “boggles my mind.”

“It’s beyond the pale of a simple possession case, as troubling as those cases are,” she said.

The prison term was the maximum possible under federal sentencing guidelines. Freudenthal also ordered 10 years of supervised release after Person serves his term and imposed $5,000 in restitution.

Person’s attorney argued for 14 years, saying Person cooperated with investigators and knew his behavior was wrong. In court, Person said, “I’m very sorry to all the people I let down.”

Person had served eight years for a 2001 conviction of sexually assaulting a child.

“Given the defendant’s history as a hands-on offender, we were very concerned,” prosecutor James Anderson of the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

According to courtroom discussion, an agent with the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation has so far spent more than 400 hours analyzing the child pornography Person had collected.

The agent has sent the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children about 10 million files from the case and plans to send 8 million more. About 82 recognized victims have been identified so far in Person’s collection.

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Information from: Wyoming Tribune Eagle, http://www.wyomingnews.com

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