Woman sentenced to 20 years in federal prison for producing child pornography with infant

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Co-defendant Richard Hennis previously sentenced to 27 years in federal prison for same offense

DENVER — A Colorado woman was sentenced last week by to 20 years in federal prison for producing child pornography while sexually abusing an infant.

U.S. District Court Judge Philip A. Brimmer also sentenced Brandi Leonard, 20, of Colorado Springs, to serve 10 years on supervised release after she completes her prison sentence.

Co-defendant Richard Hennis, 41, of Colorado Springs, was previously sentenced also by Judge Brimmer to 27 years in federal prison for producing and transporting child pornography. Following his prison sentence, Hennis was also ordered to serve 10 years of supervised release. Defendant Leonard, who appeared at the hearing in custody, was remanded at its conclusion.

Leonard and co-defendant Hennis were first charged by criminal complaints on March 11, 2016. They were then indicted by a federal grand jury in Denver on April 5, 2016. Leonard pleaded guilty to the charge April 13, 2017, and was sentenced Aug. 3. Hennis pleaded guilty before Judge Brimmer on Nov. 21, 2016, and was sentenced April 19, 2017.

According to evidence presented in open court, as well as information contained in public filings, including the stipulated facts contained in Leonard’s plea agreement, Leonard and Hennis engaged in online chats spanning about one month. Leonard told Hennis that she had sexually abused an infant. Hennis encouraged Leonard to sexually abuse the infant again, to take pictures or video of the abuse, and to send them to him. Leonard did exactly what Hennis had asked. Law enforcement recovered the pictures that were produced of the infant from Hennis’s phone. Hennis then sent the sexual abuse images of the infant to another individual he was communicating with online.

During their chats, the two defendants discussed in graphic detail kidnapping, raping, killing and dismembering a child between the ages of 4 and 8 years old. Leonard twice during the chat indicated that she didn’t intend to go through with it.

“Understand this: federal law enforcement has highly motivated, expert teams standing ready to present the harshest possible punishment if you victimize an infant,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Bob Troyer.

“Crimes perpetrated against children are especially heinous,” said John Eisert, acting special agent in charge of HSI Denver. “I’m proud of the work HSI and our law enforcement partners did to identify these malicious predators and rescue the victim in this egregious case — as well as prevent potential future crimes against other children.”