A former Benton County Fire District 1 captain will spend three years in a Federal prison over child porn pictures found on his computer.

63-year-old Jeffrey K. Ripley was arrested in the summer of 2016, after Ripley's online behavior attracted the attention of child porn law enforcement officers.

Authorities say Ripley posted a 2015 Craigslist ad seeking what he described as a "petite and sweet little princess." A Richland detective posted a response to the ad by way of the Internet Crimes Against Children task force, pretending to be a 13-year-old girl. The dialogue went on for nearly 8 months, but Ripley withdrew from the conversation instead of meeting with the "13-year-old."

Then in June 2016 authorities with the task force visited his home, and he gave them permission to search his computer. Aside from thousands of 'legal' pornographic images, authorities found 46 images downloaded that were confirmed as being children under 10 years of age. 715 others were deemed to be 'difficult', in that it was not certain the subjects were underage. Ripley said the images were downloaded in 2011, but were only viewed once.

However, several images were of known victims of abuse, and Ripley was arrested and will also be forced to pay restitution to those victims. Ripley admitted using digital 'wiping' tools to clean unwanted files off his computer, prosecutors say he could have destroyed thousands of other similar files.

He was at retirement age when he was arrested in 2016, and resigned his position as captain. He sometimes served as spokesman for the department. He will be eligible for parole when he is 65 and released, and among other terms and conditions, will have to register as a sex offender. His sentence was just under the Federal minimum for such crimes, due to the low number of images on computer, and his lifelong history of community service.