• 48°

Ashland mayor indicted on child pornography charges

ASHLAND -- Recently resigned Mayor Paul R. Reeves was indicted in U.S. District Court Tuesday in association with four charges of child pornography, stemming from an investigation by federal agencies that began in May.

Reeves was charged with conspiracy to receive, receiving and possession of child pornography, and for the forfeiture of equipment used in these offenses, according to the indictment.

John Bert Riggs, who resigned Friday as president of Riggs Machine & Fabricating Inc., was also indicted on two charges -- one for knowingly possessing materials depicting minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct and the other for

forfeiture of equipment used in these offenses.

The penalties for the

receiving and distribution charges are a maximum of 15 years in prison and $250,000. The possession charge carries a maximum sentence of five years and $250,000.

Both men are to appear in federal court in Ashland at 9 a.m. July 15. At this time, no indictments were made regarding additional

allegations of extortion.

"This is a joint investigation between the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the FBI and will be prosecuted through the U.S. Attorney’s Office," said Roberta Bottoms, public information officer for the Mid-Atlantic Division of Postal Inspection Office. "We are investigating under the prohibitive mailing laws."

According to the

indictments, two computers, three cameras, a camcorder and various disks, CD-Roms, VHS videos and DVD movies were confiscated from Reeves and subject to

forfeiture.

A computer, one floppy disk and eight VHS tapes were seized from Riggs.

An affidavit filed on May 29 in U.S. District Court in Lexington -- a copy of which was obtained by The Ironton Tribune -- stated that Postal Inspection Officers delivered two videotapes of child pornography to Reeves’ home on May 29. He had allegedly ordered them from an

undercover company operated by the Postal Inspection Service.

Fifteen minutes later, a search by postal agents allegedly found Reeves

watching one of the tapes in a locked room in his house.

During the search, Reeves allegedly told authorities he had ordered the tapes for Riggs. According to the

affidavit, Reeves contacted Riggs to pick up the tapes.

Riggs

did so and when approached by the officers stated that they knew what they were ordering.

The search also uncovered three envelopes containing $10,000.

When investigators asked if he had any knowledge of the money, Riggs said he had been threatened by Reeves and had paid him the money to insure that his company continued to receive business from AK Steel.

The extortion aspect of the investigation is ongoing and representatives from the FBI declined to comment on specifics.

The indictment of a person by the Grand Jury is an accusation only and that person is presumed innocent until proven guilty. Michael Caldwell/The Ironton Tribune