CINCINNATI—Ryan Fahrenkamp, 43, of Mason was sentenced in U.S. District Court to 180 months in prison, followed by court supervision for the rest of his life, for accessing child pornography websites using a laptop computer that belonged to the school where he was employed as a teacher, taking pornographic images of children who had been students of his, and for possessing child pornography that he had collected from the Internet.
Carter M. Stewart, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio; Edward J. Hanko, Special Agent in Charge of the Cincinnati Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); and West Chester Police Chief Erik Niehaus announced the sentence handed down today by Senior U.S. District Judge Herman Weber.
Fahrenkamp pleaded guilty on August 31, 2011 to one count of transportation of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography.
According to court documents, Lakota school officials contacted the West Chester Police Department in May 2010 regarding an internal investigation of Fahrenkamp, who taught at one of the elementary schools at the time. A parent had complained to school officials about Fahrenkamp texting her sixth-grade child without her permission. Fahrenkamp had previously been reprimanded by the school for inappropriately communicating with a student.
Even though the texts were not sexual in nature, Fahrenkamp’s school-issued laptop was examined by school officials. The school’s preliminary examination revealed that Fahrenkamp’s school laptop computer had been used to access pornographic websites and contained images of what appeared to be underage males without their shirts on, some of whom previously attended the school where Fahrenkamp taught.
West Chester Police officers executed a search warrant at the motel where Fahrenkamp was living. Among the items seized was a digital camera. The Regional Electronics Computer Investigation Section conducted a forensic review of the camera’s storage card and the laptop computer and found more than 600 images and a video of child pornography.
FBI agents and West Chester Police arrested Fahrenkamp without incident on January 3, 2011. He has been in custody since his arrest.
“Fahrenkamp is not the ‘typical’ child pornographer this court has dealt with previously,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Christy Muncy wrote in a pre-sentencing memorandum filed with the court. “Fahrenkamp was a trusted educator in his community. He violated that trust by subjecting former pupils to sexual abuse.”
After his release from prison, Fahrenkamp will be required to register as a sex offender anywhere that he lives, works, or goes to school. While under court supervision, Fahrenkamp is prohibited from access to a computer and from having contact with minors, either physically or online.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
Stewart commended the cooperation by the FBI agents and WCPD officers who investigated this case and Assistant U.S. Attorney Muncy.