From Terry Frieden
Wednesday, May 26, 2004 Posted: 12:01 PM EDT (1601 GMT)
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Spanky, a clown with the renowned Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, has been arrested on charges stemming from a child pornography investigation, law enforcement officials said Tuesday.
Spanky, whose real name is Thomas Allen Riccio, 23, of Jacksonville, Florida, made an initial state court appearance Monday in Fayetteville, North Carolina, where he was traveling with the circus, the officials said.
He faces 10 counts of third degree sexual exploitation of a minor.
The arrest Friday was the latest in an ongoing international probe of subscribers to a child pornography Web site that was shut down in an international raid last July.
In announcing the arrest, the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement said that when agents searched Riccio's computer, they discovered "thousands of images, many of which involve prepubescent children engaged in various sexual and lewd acts."
"This man's profession as Spanky the clown brought him into contact with hundreds of families," said agent Albert Fitchett Jr. in Wilmington, North Carolina.
"Behind the clown nose, however, this man appears to have been supporting an industry that trades in the exploitation of children."
I guess someone should have reevaluated his response of 'I just love kids' when asked why he wanted the job. I wonder if spanky ever got around to making his own videos and photos. Hey kids, who wants to touch by red 'nose'? Poor spanky. He just loved those kids too much. Kinda like OJ loved nicole too much.