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Johnson City man pleads guilty to child porn charge

Matthew Lane • Nov 17, 2017 at 7:30 PM

GREENEVILLE — A Johnson City man, using the screen names “wanting” and “needing” in online chat rooms, has agreed to plead guilty to a federal child pornography charge.

Tommy Wayne Riner, 58, was indicted in U.S. District Court in Greeneville in March. He was charged with receiving, possessing and distributing child pornography. Earlier this month, Riner agreed to plead guilty to the receiving charge, and his next hearing is scheduled for Nov. 21.

The offense carries a sentence of five to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

According to the plea agreement, Canadian law enforcement began investigating in May 2015 an Internet program which enables users to share and view child pornography. The software allows people to create “rooms” where they can hold videoconferences with other users and create either permanent or temporary user names when logged in.

Law enforcement agents were able to determine that one IP address could have multiple names associated with a particular session.

Court records state that on Nov. 10, 2015, U.S. Homeland Security investigators entered one of the “rooms” and found users streaming videos showing children under the age of 12 engaged in sexual conduct.

Authorities say 29 videos, one including a toddler, were displayed during the session.

During the investigation, an agent observed a user with the screen name “needing” broadcasting live to the other users. Agents later identified that person as Riner. Investigators also determined that another user in the room with the screen name “wanting” was also Riner.

On Dec. 5, agents executed a search warrant on Riner’s residence and found a number of computers or mobile devices with child pornography, including an iPhone 6 Plus and an Apple MacBook Air. Riner’s search parameters in the sharing program were for 10- to 12-year-old boys, court records state.

According to the plea agreement, Riner told investigators he became interested in child porn in his 50s and believed it was because he was molested as a child. However, Riner told law enforcement he did not remember being molested.

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