A Lewiston man who downloaded child pornography at the Auburn Public Library last year was sentenced in federal court Wednesday to nearly 22 years in prison.

U.S. Attorney Halsey Frank issued a statement Wednesday that a judge in U.S. District Court in Portland handed down a sentence of 21 years and 10 months to Nicholas Richard, 39, for receiving child pornography images. He was ordered to pay $7,500 in restitution to the victims depicted in the images and, after release from prison, will be on supervised release for life.

In February 2017, Richard used the internet and peer-to-peer file-sharing software to download the illicit images, according to Frank.

Richard was at the library on Feb. 15 when he downloaded the child pornography images using that library’s wireless internet connection. Investigators seized Richard’s laptop computer and other electronic devices from him at the library and obtained a search warrant for them the next day.

A Saco Police Department detective found that two peer-to-peer file-sharing clients had been installed on Richard’s laptop. He also found dozens of “LNK” files that had been created on the laptop’s system within roughly 30 minutes of investigators’ initial encounter with Richard at the library. Each of these files, which are shortcut files created when a user opens a file or program, pointed to images with names highly suggestive of child pornography.

The laptop contained thousands of images and videos depicting child pornography and child erotica.

Richard was subject to a harsher sentence because of a prior federal child pornography conviction, according to Frank.

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