KANSAS CITY, KS (KCTV) — Following a sting operation, a firefighter has been booked into jail and charged with sexually exploiting a child.
Devin Rich, 33, is charged with one count of felony sexual exploitation of a child.
According to Wyandotte County District Attorney Mark Dupree, Rich turned himself in and was arrested at 9 a.m. Friday.
Court records indicate that the crimes happened on or about Feb. 22.
Prosecutors have requested a $100,000 bond for the firefighter.
During a press conference on Friday, the authorities said it was a string operation and that there was no victim. Rather, an undercover FBI agent posed as someone younger than 15 years old.
"Mr. Devon is believed to have communications with someone that be believed was under the age of 18 and, in that conversation, attempts to solicit that child are for sexual acts," said Prosecutor Mark Dupree. "It is not OK for an adult to solicit sexual acts or any type of sexual behaviors from a child. Requesting pictures, requesting meeting up and things of those sort for sexual acts. Report that to law enforcement and we have the ability to investigate it and to charge these crimes."
Someone first gave a tip to the authorities about his behavior in February and police started looking into it as early as late 2017.
Additionally, there is evidence that some of the communication happened while he was at the firehouse.
"I will tell you that the evidence is clear, and the evidence is strong, and we have probable cause to move forward with this case," the prosecutor said.
Later on Friday, the Kansas City, Kansas Fire Department released the following statement:
"The Kansas City Kansas Fire Department was made aware of formal charges of firefighter Devin Rich.
Devin Rich was an eight year veteran of the Kansas City Kansas Fire Department and he was assigned to Station #7 at 2717 Strong KCK.
Devin Rich has been suspended without pay since April of 2018.
This matter is in the office of the District Attorney."
Rich could spend anywhere from 4.5 years to 20 years in prison if convicted of the charges.
The prosecutor said that no one is above the law, even if they wear a uniform.
He also pointed out that this is an isolated case and that the department has more than 400 firefighters who risk their lives to keep those in KCK safe.