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Former Royse City pastor pleads guilty to child porn charges

steve-richardson1

BY J.J. SMITH

The former pastor of First United Methodist Church in Royse City pleaded guilty today to two child pornography charges.

Steve Richardson, 36, pleaded guilty to transporting and shipping child pornography, and possession of child pornography, said acting U.S. Attorney James T. Jacks of the U.S. Attorney’s office of Texas’ Northern District.

Richardson communicated with an undercover agent through Google Hello, which allows users to chat and exchange files via the Internet, the U.S. Attorney’s office said.

He used the identity of “cowboysspades.”

Authorities seized a computer containing child pornography from his church office in September, 2008, the U.S. Attorney’s office said.

Richardson admitted to possessing more than 600 images of child pornography and trading images with Google Hello users.

Sentencing is now scheduled for June 15. He faces a sentence of up to 20 years for the transporting charge and up to 10 years for the possession charge. Each charge carries a maximum fine of $250,000.

After his arrest, Richardson was suspended from ministerial duties by Bishop W. Earl Bledsoe of the North Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church.

Richardson later surrendered his credentials and is no longer a United Methodist pastor.

Royse City United Methodist Church now has a new pastor.

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