Convicted police impersonator and sex offender sentenced

Posted at 10:03 PM, Nov 27, 2012

A man who impersonated a police officer, lured children to his Orem home and took pornographic pictures of them was given his sentence Tuesday.

David Morris Richards, 54,  will spend the next 19 years behind bars after admitting he produced child pornography. Police and prosecutors say the victims were girls from Richards' Orem neighborhood.

Casey, who asked FOX 13 News not to use her last name, says three of Richards' victims were her daughters. Casey has known Richards for 27 years.

"He was my dad that I never had. He was a grandpa to my kids. And he took my kids on the weekends," Casey said. "It hit me really hard."

Richards was initially arrested by Orem police in 2011 for impersonating an officer. Detectives say he filmed girls undressing and had sex with some of them. Some of the evidence of Richards' illegal activities dates back several years.

"It's a shame that it's gone on for so long. We found videotapes [from] 2008 depicting some of this bizarre behavior that he's videotaping in his bedroom," said Utah County Prosecutor Craig Johnson.

Local prosecutors dropped their case so Richards could be indicted in federal court for manufacturing child pornography - which could have carried a 30 year prison sentence. In July, Richards struck a plea deal with the U.S. Attorney and agreed to a 17 year sentence.

After hearing Casey's emotional testimony Tuesday, Judge Dee Benson felt the sentence was too light, which meant Richards could have withdrawn his plea and asked for a jury trial.

After 30 minutes of negotiation, Richards opted not to withdraw his plea and accepted two additional years in prison.

Judge Benson recommended that Richards serve his time in a federal prison in Colorado that has a sex offender treatment program.  

Once released, Richards will spend the rest of his time on federal probation and he'll have to register as a sex offender.