Man caught with 58 terabytes of child porn sentenced to 35 years

SHERMAN, Tex. (KXII) - A Collin County man will spend 35 years in prison for child porn possession.

"The quantity of materials that he was downloading and distributing, the nature of them, these are really disturbing images," Assistant U.S. Attorney, Marissa Miller said.

Miller said it started in May 2018.

A Plano police detective was going undercover to look into online programs known for trading child pornography.

The detective came across someone who had over 4,000 images and video of child pornography available for download.

That user would later be identified as 41-year-old Richard Denver Belden from Allen.

"Mr. Belden fed the beast, he encouraged the market for child pornography," Miller said.

The Collin County Sheriff's Office got a search warrant, and found Belden inside his apartment actively downloading and distributing child pornography on his computer.

Deputies said they found 15 hard drives, totaling 58 terabytes of child pornography.

To put that into perspective, 58 terabytes is about 58,000 gigabytes.

An average iPhone has 128 gigabytes of storage, so that's about 453 phones completely full.

"By his own admission, Mr. Belden has been doing this for years, if not decades and it had really consumed his life," Miller said.

Because of the magnitude of what they found, Miller said they asked the district court for a higher sentence than the guidelines, which suggested around 20 years.

Thursday, Belden was sentenced to 35 years in prison, followed by 20 years of supervised release.

"We're out there and we are looking, we are in every sector where these images are traded," Miller said.

The case was prosecuted as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative that fights the sexual exploitation and abuse of children.

A seminar about how to protect children online will be held February 18 at Dillingham Middle School.