Travis Pritchard was also ordered to serve a lifetime term of supervised release and must register as a sex offender.
A former Clay County Sheriff’s deputy has been sentenced to 35 years in federal prison for producing and possessing child sexual abuse images, according to the United States Attorney’s Office.
Travis Ryan Pritchard, 38, Green Cove Springs pleaded guilty on October 21, 2020, to one count of producing an image of a 15-year-old child being sexually abused and one count of possessing an image of a prepubescent child being sexually abused.
According to court documents, Pritchard was employed as a deputy with the Clay County Sheriff’s Office and was assigned to the DUI unit at the time of the offenses.
From December 2019 through May 2, Pritchard chatted with a 15-year-old online, the release said.
Documents say beginning on April 29, an undercover detective from the Green Cove Springs Police Department assumed the child’s identity and continued chatting with Pritchard.
During their chats, Pritchard encouraged the child to sneak out to meet with him for a “quickie,” the release said.
Before their meeting, he sent a photograph of himself from the waist down, wearing only boxer shorts, according to authorities.
At approximately 2 a.m. on May 2, Pritchard arrived near the child’s home in his patrol vehicle and sent a message saying, “I’m here,” the release said.
Shortly after, Pritchard was arrested by officers from the Green Cove Springs Police Department.
A forensic review of Pritchard’s cellphone showed multiple conversations between the child and Pritchard, as well as an encrypted secure digital folder that contained multiple depictions of child sexual abuse, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
“All child sexual abuse is appalling, but when this crime is committed by someone in a position of trust, it is beyond comprehension,” said HSI Jacksonville Assistant Special Agent in Charge K. Jim Phillips. “Thanks to our HSI special agents and our local law enforcement partners, this perpetrator will no longer be in a position to harm children.”
“The Green Cove Springs Police Department is committed to serving our community and protecting our citizens against all evil, even when that evil comes hiding behind a badge,” said Commander John Guzman. “As a law enforcement officer, Mr. Pritchard betrayed those who trusted him the most and now he will have to pay for his crimes.”
Pritchard was also ordered to serve a lifetime term of supervised release and must register as a sex offender.