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Bond is raised in child porn case

March 20, 1998

By MARLO BARNHART

Staff Writer

Bond was raised Thursday for a man accused of approaching a teenage boy to encourage him to pose for child pornography.

Michael Wayne Ridenour, 30, of 156 S. Potomac St., was returned to the Washington County Detention Center on $35,000 bond, an increase of $10,000 ordered by visiting Washington County District Judge Robert Wilcox.

"The family of the victim is very concerned about this defendant," said Washington County Deputy State's Attorney Charles Strong.

He asked that the bond be doubled.

Earlier this month, a letter was left at a bus stop for a 13-year-old boy. The letter encouraged the boy to pose for pictures or videotapes and then leave them in a brown bag at that same bus stop, court records said.

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The child turned the letter over to a teacher and Investigator Kenny Barnhart of the Washington County Sheriff's Department was brought in on the case.

When the bag was picked up, deputies followed Ridenour in his vehicle. Computer disks portraying child pornography were found in the trunk, court records alleged.

Barnhart's investigation revealed the letter left for the child had been generated from a computer link with the Internet at the Washington County Free Library.

Ridenour was jailed Wednesday after turning himself in to Barnhart.

Charges include solicitation of child pornography, possession of child pornography, child pornography from computers and contributing to the condition of a child.

Convictions on all those charges could add up to 24 years in prison.

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