Anderson IN child pornographer gets six years in federal prison

By Rick Yencer

ANDERSON, INDIANA (NEWS) - A federal judge handed an Anderson man a six year federal prison term for downloading pictures of child pornography on his laptop computer.

Richard Zachery Gardner, 23, admitted to authorities he routinely downloaded images of children engaged in sadistic and masochistic sexual behavior.

U.S, District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt handed down the sentence, besides 10 years of supervised release along being registered as a state sex offender.

Gardner was swept up in a 2012 Indiana State Police investigation of child pornography that caught numerous suspects. 

From that investigation, U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett launched "Operation Community Watch" to increase efforts to crack down on child pornographers that aided a federal program, Project Safe Childhood, that began more investigation of child exploitation.

Just in the past year, the federal government in the Southern Indiana District has prosecuted 52 defendants, about 37 percent more than the year before. Hogsett said that was an all time record for his office.