Shortly before his December court-martial trial was slated to begin, a Navy chief accused of multiple sex crimes targeting children pleaded guilty and will spend five years behind bars, Navy Times has learned.
Navy Region Hawaii officials said that Cryptologic Technician (Collection) Chief Matthew Lee Richardson, who had been assigned to the U.S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, is confined to the Naval Brig on Ford Island pending his transfer to a military prison.
After reaching a pretrial agreement with prosecutors, on Dec. 10 Richardson pleaded guilty to two specifications for sexually abusing a minor and a separate charge of possessing child pornography and was sentenced to five years, minus the 233 days he was incarcerated prior to trial, reduction to E-1 and a dishonorable discharge.
Military judge Capt. Ann K. Minami sentenced him to eight years behind bars, but the pretrial agreement indicated that “all confinement greater than five years will be suspended,” according to Navy Region Hawaii spokeswoman Agnes T. Tauyan.
Richardson, 37, must register as a sex offender after he leaves prison, she added.
According to charge sheets released to Navy Times, Richardson had been accused of encouraging a girl under the age of 16 to take off her underwear and walk around a room in Oahu in October 2018 and March 2019, plus touching the genitalia and buttocks of a child “with an intent to gratify his sexual desire.”
Richardson’s pornography charge stemmed from what authorities said was an April 27, 2018, incident in which he possessed digital images of children engaging in sexually explicit conduct.
Prine came to Navy Times after stints at the San Diego Union-Tribune and Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He served in the Marine Corps and the Pennsylvania Army National Guard. His awards include the Joseph Galloway Award for Distinguished Reporting on the military, a first prize from Investigative Reporters & Editors and the Combat Infantryman Badge.