Media Archive

Brownville man implicated in child pornography case

Article from Bangor Daily News, Thursday, March 02, 2006

By Diana Bowley
Staff Writer

DOVER-FOXCROFT - A Brownville man who allegedly committed sex acts on a local 7-year-old girl and downloaded onto his computer digital images of her and another young girl in various stages of undress made his initial court appearance Wednesday in Piscataquis County Superior Court.

Richard D. Prado Jr., 34, who was arrested Wednesday morning on his discharge from Acadia Hospital in Bangor where he had admitted himself, waived his right to a formal arraignment. He was charged with gross sexual assault, sexual exploitation of a minor and tampering with a witness or informant.

Depending on the results of a forensic examination of Prado's home computer and cameras, which were seized, he may face additional charges, according to R. Christopher Almy, Piscataquis County district attorney.

Almy said Prado had several out-of-state contacts, including an Indiana woman who recently was charged with 11 counts of child pornography.

"There may be multiple victims [of Prado] in Maine and out of state," Almy said outside the courtroom. "Federal charges are a possibility here."

Justice Jeffrey Hjelm scheduled a conference on April 7 to determine the status of the case. If Prado does not plead guilty, the matter is expected to be presented to the grand jury in June, Almy said.

If convicted of the crimes, Prado could face a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison on each sex-crime count as well as a five-year minimum mandatory sentence for sexual exploitation of a minor, Almy said outside the courtroom. Tampering with a witness carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, he said.

Wearing a baggy, hooded sweat shirt in court, Prado never raised his head to look at Hjelm during the court hearing, prompting the judge to ask him twice whether he was listening.

"Yes, sir," Prado replied both times.

Prado's bail was set at $25,000 surety or $10,000 cash, an amount Almy said was appropriate. Almy told Hjelm that Prado has a 2000 conviction for assault that was sexual in nature. The district attorney said later that it involved a minor.

According to police, Prado is unemployed.

It was a SAD 41 school social worker who notified Brownville Police Chief Todd Lyford that Prado had taken sexually explicit photos of two local elementary school girls, according to an affidavit filed by police.

As Lyford gathered the information to initiate a search warrant, he learned that Lt. Robert Young of the Piscataquis County Sheriff's Department also was investigating Prado for a similar child abuse case referred to him by an out-of-state complainant.

The two officers executed a search warrant Feb. 8 at Prado's Van Horne Avenue home, where they reportedly found eight photos of two young girls under age 10 posed in sexually explicit positions.

One of the photos, reportedly taken by an 11-year-old girl, shows Prado involved in sex acts with the 7-year-old, Almy said outside the courtroom.

Also turned over to police were a "stack" of compact discs a burner repairman discovered in a furnace in Prado's home. A pair of girl's underwear also was taken, according to court documents.

The tampering charge stems from text messages that Prado is alleged to have made to the mother of one of the girls.

The woman reported to police that she had received text messages from Prado warning that her daughter "better stop saying things in school."

In one message, she reported that Prado said he "did not want to hurt anyone, but ...," according to the affidavit.

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NOTE - This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of the TRC Alliance Team.