SAN FRANCISCO — The Aptos man who molested at least two young boys, created pornography of the crimes and amassed a collection of thousands of images of child porn has been sentenced to 30 years in federal prison.
Ryan Spencer, 21, has been in custody since his arrest on April 26, 2017. He pleaded guilty in October to possession, production and distribution of child pornography.
The federal prison system has no parole. However, with good behavior, Spencer could be out in about 25 years.
Spencer was a babysitter and camp counselor in the Santa Cruz area, and federal investigators believe that he placed himself in those positions to gain access to his victims.
Four young people have reported that Spencer molested them.
In a July 3 sentencing memorandum, United States Attorney David Anderson wrote that Spencer presented a “carefully cultivated image to the families for whom he babysat.”
“Parents liked Spencer, and they trusted him,” Anderson wrote. “But Spencer’s goal was not teaching experience or extra spending money. Behind his sterling resume lay a single-minded obsession: a sexual desire for prepubescent boys.”
Spencer must also pay restitution to his victims, and has a Sept. 18 hearing to determine the amount.
The case against Spencer, and his codefendant Bryan Peterson, began on April 26, 2017 when FBI agents raided Peterson’s residence in Tiburon.
There, Peterson, who was also a babysitter, admitted he had child porn, and told agents that Spencer gave him a hard drive loaded with more than 30,000 child porn images.
Agents served a search warrant at Spencer’s Aptos residence the next day.
Investigators found chat transcripts between Spencer and Peterson in which Spencer detailed his experiences molesting the children he babysat, and the two discussed exchanging child porn images.
Spencer later refused demands to unlock his devices for investigators, even after a judge fined him $1,000 per day for failing to do so. He relented 21 days later.
Once agents unlocked the devices, they found thousands of illegal pictures and videos, some of which were of two boys Spencer babysat. One of the boys depicted said that Spencer had molested him, Anderson wrote.
“Spencer saw the boys in his care as sex objects, and he acted accordingly,” he wrote. “He abused parents’ trust to access and victimize their children. The effects will be felt for years to come.”
Peterson is facing the same sentence. He is scheduled to be sentenced in August.