Spanky the Clown arrested for Child Porn!
'Spanky' the Clown Arrested on Child Porn
By Associated Press
May 26, 2004, 12:08 PM EDT
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. -- A clown who goes by the name of "Spanky" has been arrested on child pornography charges while traveling with the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus, federal agents said.
Thomas Riccio, 23, of Jacksonville, Fla., was arrested Friday by Fayetteville police and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to face 10 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, the federal agency said Tuesday.
Leads from a federal investigation in New Jersey linked Riccio to a company in Belarus that provided credit card billing services for more than 50 child pornography Web sites internationally, said Immigrations and Customs Enforcement spokesman Dean Boyd.
Police and federal agents searched Riccio's computer and found thousands of images, many involving young children participating in sexual acts, authorities said.
About 100 people have been arrested in the United States based on the Belarus investigation and 100 others were arrested in Denmark earlier this year, he said.
Riccio remained in custody Wednesday in lieu of $150,000 bail.