BRUNSWICK, GA: An Effingham County man who admitted to producing child pornography has been sentenced to 30 years in federal prison.
Carl Scott Ruger, 42, of Guyton, Ga., was sentenced to 360 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to Production of Child Pornography, said David H. Estes, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. U.S. District Court Judge Lisa Godbey Wood also ordered Ruger to pay restitution of $1.5 million, and after completion of his prison term to register as a sex offender and serve a life term of supervised release.
There is no parole in the federal system.
“Carl Ruger is a loathsome, dangerous predator, and our streets are safer now that he is behind bars,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Estes. “In collaboration with our law enforcement partners, we will relentlessly work to protect the most vulnerable members of our communities.”
Two related defendants are serving federal prison terms after also pleading guilty to Production of Child Pornography. Richard Hunt Moore, 50, of Hephzibah, Ga., is serving 264 months in prison, and Charles Casey Gardner, 41, of Brooklet, Ga., is serving 180 months. A fourth target in the investigation killed himself in Illinois before questioning.
The men came to the attention of law enforcement agencies in January 2019 when Columbia County Sheriff’s deputies were called to a hotel in Martinez, Ga., by a hotel employee who had been alerted by a 14-year-old boy accompanying Moore. After questioning Moore, sheriff’s office investigators and the FBI found images of child pornography of Moore’s phone. Those images led to the discovery of the other defendants.
As referenced during his sentencing hearing, prior to his 2019 arrest, Ruger worked in custodial positions in multiple Georgia counties including as a substitute teacher, bus driver, deputy jailer, and as a corrections officer in state and federal prisons.
“This case is a great example of the relationship between the community and law enforcement working together to keep our communities safe,” said Maj. Sharif Chochol, with the Field Operations Bureau of the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office. “’If you see something, say something’ is more than just a catch phrase; it works. A child predator has been taken down thanks to an observant citizen and a team of dedicated law enforcement professionals.”
“Predators like Ruger are despicable and have no place in civilized society,” said Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “The FBI is thankful for our law enforcement partnerships that make it possible to put sexual predators, like Ruger, behind bars for significant periods of time where they cannot victimize any more children.”
“Thankfully, Ruger will now face the consequences of his despicable actions and will no longer be able to hurt innocent children,” said Special Agent in Charge Katrina W. Berger, who oversees Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) operations in Georgia and Alabama. “This investigation was started because someone saw something wrong and reported it. We ask that if you see something out of place, you report it, you could be saving someone’s life”
The cases were investigated by Homeland Security Investigations and the FBI, along with the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office and the Effingham County Sheriff’s Office, and prosecuted for the United States by Assistant U.S. Attorney and Project Safe Childhood Coordinator Tara M. Lyons, with support from Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Sue Robichaux in the Asset Recovery Unit.
Anyone with information on suspected child sexual exploitation can contact the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 800-843-5678, or https://report.cybertip.org/.
If you have knowledge of fraud, waste, abuse, or allegations of mismanagement involving disaster relief operations, contact the National Center for Disaster Fraud toll free at: (866) 720-5721 or e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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