SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A 21-year-old Aptos man who took lewd photos of the children in his care and distributed them on the internet has been sentenced to 30 years in prison, federal prosecutors announced late Wednesday.

United States Attorney David L. Anderson and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge John F. Bennett announced that Ryan Michael Spencer pleaded guilty to production of child pornography, conspiracy to distribute and receive child pornography, and related charges on October 10, 2018.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Charles Breyer sentenced Spencer to a 15-year term of supervised release and ordered him to pay restitution to the victims.

According to papers filed publicly in the case, the FBI began investigating the case after a witness reported to law enforcement that Spencer’s co-defendant, Bryan Petersen of Tiburon, had child pornography on his computer and in a Dropbox account.

After executing a search warrant at Petersen’s residence, the FBI learned that Petersen had received thousands of images and videos containing child pornography from Spencer.

The FBI also learned that the two men worked with children. Petersen as a babysitter, chess coach, and tutor in Tiburon and Spencer was a babysitter, camp counselor, and teacher-in-training in Aptos.

Investigators said the men had been taking and exchanging pornographic images of children entrusted to their care.

Further investigation revealed that, on several occasions, Spencer had molested at least two of the children he had babysat, including by raping one boy who was less than 10 years old at the time.

When the FBI executed a search warrant at Spencer’s residence in April 2017, several of the seized devices were encrypted and/or password-protected. A federal magistrate and a federal judge ordered Spencer to help decrypt the devices. But he refused.

After being held in civil contempt and fined him $1,000 per day, Spencer agreed to decrypt his devices 22 days after being held in civil contempt.

Spencer’s external hard drive contained tens of thousands of images and videos of child pornography downloaded from the internet. Further, his iPhone contained thousands more images of child pornography, including at least some of the child pornography Spencer had created himself.

These images included dozens, and sometimes hundreds, of images of children’s genitalia that appeared to have been taken surreptitiously as boys — some as young as four or five — were attempting to change their clothes in camp cabins, pool locker rooms, and other locations. The iPhone also contained images of Spencer molesting one minor.

On July 25, 2017, Petersen was charged by information with the same charges, except the contempt-of-court charge. On July 28, 2017, he pleaded guilty to all the charges pending against him. Judge Breyer has scheduled his sentencing for August 21, 2019.

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