Memphis Fire Department employee charged with sexual exploitation of a minor

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Memphis Fire Department employee is on leave, charged with possession of child pornography.

Zachary Richey, 33, was arrested for allegedly possessing child pornography, according to an affidavit. Police were able to obtain a search warrant and subsequently found those images on an account belonging solely to Richey.

A Memphis Fire Department spokesperson said Richey, a probationary firefighter paramedic, is on leave without pay.

Video we discovered in a social media post shows Richey during his pinning ceremony, shaking hands and smiling back in April. He was one of 23 firefighters sworn in to protect the city. 

In June the Memphis Police Department received a complaint from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, saying a person in the Memphis area had 44 pictures categorized as “apparent child pornography” in an online cloud account.

Verizon Wireless and cloud company Synchronoss Technologies reported finding the images and subscriber information to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. 

That data then passed along to Memphis police investigators. Detectives confirmed the pictures of children in sexual encounters and poses.

Officers say search warrants of Richey’s cell phone and email linked him to the pictures. More than two months after the images were initially reported, police arrested Richey. 

We went to Richey’s listed Cordova address to try to talk to someone about him today, but no one came to the door. 

His arrest comes as major technology companies have recently announced expanded protections for children.

Apple says it plans to scan iPhones for images of child sex abuse. The new tool will scan pictures before they’re uploaded to the iCloud. If a match is found it will be viewed by a person. 

MORE: Top stories on WREG.com →

If child pornography is believed to be discovered it will be reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Apple says there are safeguards in place to protect users privacy.

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