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cityboi

'Spanky' the clown arrested on child porn charges

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I wonder why they call him Spanky?:lol:

'Spanky' the clown arrested on child porn charges

Associated Press

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. - A circus clown who goes by the name of "Spanky" was arrested last week in Fayetteville on charges involving child pornography, federal agents said Tuesday.

Thomas Riccio, 23, of Jacksonville, Fla., was arrested Friday by officers from the Fayetteville Police Department and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, ICE said in a news release. He was arrested while traveling with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, they said.

Riccio, who made his first court appearance Monday in Cumberland County District Court, faces 10 counts of third-degree sexual exploitation of a minor.

He was in the Cumberland County jail Wednesday with bond set at $150,000.

Riccio was arrested as part of ICE's Operation Predator, which targets predatory crimes, including child pornography and child trafficking. Since July, Operation Predator has led to more than 2,900 arrests nationwide.

Leads from an Operation Predator investigation in New Jersey linked Riccio to a company in Belarus that provided credit card billing services for more than 50 child pornography Web sites internationally, Boyd said.

After receiving those leads, local police and federal agents searched Riccio's computer, where they found thousands of images, the news release said. Many of those images involved young children participating in sexual and lewd acts.

ICE set out to first arrest people with access to children or in positions of trust, Boyd said Tuesday night.

"Our first wave of arrests involved teachers, several priests, doctors, camp counselors, who were downloading and, in some cases, distributing illegal child pornography over the Internet," he said. "There are potentially thousands of leads in this case."

About 100 people have been arrested in the United States based on the Belarus investigation and another 100 were arrested in Denmark earlier this year, he said.

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One of Jacksonville's own helping to boost the city's reputation. Many people who have known him over the years have been calling a local radio station to report on "spanky". Seems to be one of those "didn't see it coming" situations.

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