[Editor’s Note: Richards was a judge advocate general assigned to the Air Force Legal Operations Agency in the utilities litigation team stationed at Tyndall Air Force Base according to 2nd Lt Andrea Valencia.]
An Air Force officer has been sentenced to 17 years in a military prison and dishonorably discharged for a sexual relationship he had with an under-aged male in 2011.
The court-martial of Lt. Col. James Richards, 42, was completed Feb. 21, according to a news release from Tyndall.
Richards was found guilty on charges of possession of child pornography, five counts of indecent acts on a child age 16 or under and four counts of violating no-contact orders.
He was sentenced to a dismissal, which is the officer equivalent of a dishonorable discharge, and forfeiture of pay and military allowances.
In 2011, the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (OSI) contacted the Bay County Sheriff’s Office with information regarding Richards’ relationship with a 10-year-old boy in Texas that occurred 10 years previously.
OSI also conducted surveillance on Richards and discovered he was picking up a 17-year-old Bay County male and found he had been engaging in a nine-month sexual relationship with the teen. The relationship started when the teen was 16 years old, the BCSO reported at the time.
The victim told investigators he met Richards in an online gaming chat room.
Richards was arrested at the Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport as he returned from a military business trip in November 2011.