Former Mar-a-Lago official gets probation for lying in child porn case

He denied owning email address tied to photos

By Christina Maxouris and Jamiel Lynch, CNN
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Mar-a-Lago

(CNN) - A US serviceman who oversaw Army communications at President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida was sentenced to three years of probation for lying during a child pornography investigation, according to court documents.

Richard Ciccarella told federal agents that he was the "Non-commissioned Officer in Charge" of White House communications at Mar-a-Lago, the documents state.

He headed the Army's communication detail at the resort from August 2017 to March 2018, The Palm Beach Post reported.

In July, about two months after his arrest, Ciccarella pleaded guilty to making a false statement to a federal agent during the child pornography investigation.

He had uploaded photos of a female relative to a Russian website under the username RICH25N and also saved images in other folders accessible online, the documents state.

In one of his folders, Ciccarella posted a photograph of a young relative wearing only underwear and standing next to a Christmas tree, with the comment: "Dirty comment's welcome," according to the documents.

While the photos didn't constitute child pornography, his lies were troubling, Assistant US Attorney Gregory Schiller said, according to the newspaper.

When asked by federal agents, Ciccarella denied ever using the Yahoo email that was connected to that username.

He admitted to posting photos of the girl online but said people began posting comments on the pictures of which he did not approve, the documents state.

Authorities tracked down the username's IP address to Ciccarella's home.

A previous iPhone that agents seized from the residence showed a history of visiting the Russian website and Ciccarella admitted to agents that he lied about the email address because he was scared, according to court documents.

As part of his probation, a federal judge ruled Ciccarella not be allowed unsupervised personal, mail, telephone or computer contact with children under 18, including the alleged victim, and that he participates in a sex offender treatment program.

CNN has reached out to Ciccarella 's attorney for comment. According to The Palm Beach Post, Ciccarella is now stationed in Virginia.

The-CNN-Wire ™ & © 2019 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.