A San Antonio computer security expert and former Air Force airman who was part of a community of child predators was sentenced to 20 years in prison Tuesday for two counts of possession of child pornography.
U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia gave Richard W. Fleming a stiffer sentence than the recommended sentencing guidelines, which called for a maximum of 10 years. The judge also ordered Fleming to serve a lifetime of federal supervision after his release from prison.
Fleming, whose case revealed he had molested several children, issued a brief apology and said he needed treatment.
He pleaded guilty in September and still faces trial in Chicago, where he is charged with seven counts of sexual exploitation of children in connection with the creation of child pornography in 2001 and 2003. One of the charges says he traveled from Texas to Illinois to have sex with a minor under the age of 16.
Fleming, 44, is the former executive vice president of security and risk management consulting for Digital Defense Inc., a network security firm he co-founded in 1999 in San Antonio.
In the San Antonio case, FBI agents alleged they found more than 500 explicit sexual digital images involving prepubescent boys being molested by other minors or adults.
Authorities said Fleming associated with other child predators, including William Martin, 35, of Wisconsin, convicted in 2005 and sentenced to 50 years for masterminding a ring of men who traveled across the country and videotaped their molestation of numerous boys.
The group of men met online at a Web site, the “Starkids,” that federal agents said served as a meeting place for child predators.
Fleming's name was mentioned at the 2005 trial of an Illinois man, Charles Burt, who was sentenced in 2006 to 100 years in prison for photographing and distributing pornographic images of boys, including some who were living with him.
Federal prosecutors in Illinois have described Fleming as a “close friend and associate” of Burt, and said Fleming “was present on the occasions when Burt was staying with the boys.” The prosecutors also said testimony in 2005 placed Fleming at a state park and a hotel there, sites where sexual images of boys were taken.
Fleming has more than 24 years of experience in the information security industry and built it as an officer in the Air Force. He also served as director of the Air Intelligence Agency Technology Demonstration Center at Lackland AFB. In this role, he identified and applied new security technologies for the intelligence communities. Additionally, he also tested and certified information systems worldwide for classified or sensitive operations, Digital Defense's Web site said.