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Engineer pleads guilty to child porn

September 01, 2007|Greg Krikorian | Times Staff Writer

An aerospace engineer who had been on the FBI's list of Ten Most Wanted Fugitives pleaded guilty Friday in Los Angeles federal court to one count of producing child pornography.

Richard Steve Goldberg, 61, was arrested in May on state charges that he had molested at least three girls younger than 10 in his North Long Beach area home. At the time of his arrest in Montreal, he also was charged with producing images of the sex acts, which were found on his computer.

Authorities alleged that he lured girls to his residence, gaining their trust by allowing them to play with his pets and computers.

In a 2002 affidavit, an FBI agent told how the mother of two of the girls had been stunned when Long Beach police brought the allegations to her attention. She told authorities that her daughters had been going over to Goldberg's residence for years.

The affidavit also said that a forensic examination of Goldberg's computer turned up more than 100 images of young girls, including 32 of two girls, about 5 years old, posing nude or partially dressed. Several of the 32 images depicted the children engaged in sexual acts with an adult man who appeared to be Goldberg, according to the affidavit.

Fleeing the U.S. in 2001, Goldberg was placed on the FBI's most-wanted list with a $100,000 reward offered for information leading to his arrest. Someone telephoned the Los Angeles FBI office and identified him earlier this year, living in Canada under an assumed name. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police arrested him on suspicion of violating that country's immigration laws.

His attorney, Benjamin Wasserman, said Goldberg was in the process of surrendering when he was arrested in Canada.

"I think he was tired of being out of the country and he wanted to bring some closure to this," said Wasserman. "He wanted to accept responsibility and he has done that. He is very sorry."

Goldberg faces 10 to 20 years in federal prison when he is to be sentenced Nov. 19 by U.S. District Judge John F. Walter.

Assistant U.S. Atty. Jennifer Anne Corbet declined to comment about the facts in the case, but said, "I feel the sentence of 10 to 20 years is appropriate for his offense."

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greg.krikorian@latimes.com

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