GREENEVILLE — A Washington County man charged with possessing child pornography cartoons pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court this week to one of several charges against him.
Ray D. Sluss, 48, 180 Shannon View Road, Gray, entered the plea Tuesday to the knowing receipt of child pornography through interstate commerce. He faces a mandatory minimum of 15 years in prison but could be sentenced up to 45 years.
According to court documents. Sluss downloaded the images from the Internet.
Sluss was originally charged with receiving child pornography, possessing child pornography, receiving child pornography cartoons and possessing child pornography cartoons. The latter two charges will be dismissed at Sluss’ sentencing hearing, scheduled for June 5.
Sluss was convicted in 2002 of aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor, according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s sex offender registry website.
Sluss was charged with 71 counts of aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor and one count of especially aggravated exploitation of a minor. Authorities said at the time more than 3,000 pornographic images of children were found on the hard drive of
Sluss’ computer and on floppy discs. Some of the children appeared to be less than 1 year old.
Sluss also was disseminating the material through his own Web site, authorities said at the time.
Upon his conviction in 2002, Sluss was ordered to serve three years in prison and 20 years of supervised probation. That probation order was amended in 2010 to unsupervised probation, but all other conditions were to remain in effect.
During the August search, authorities initially found two laptops — one was his mother’s and the other was inoperable. But they believed Sluss had access to other computers because during a 2011 check at his house on Halloween night — sex offenders are prohibited from handing out candy to children on the October holiday — an officer observed two working laptops in Sluss’ bedroom.
Sluss denied having any other computers and told officers they were welcome to look around, according to court records. When they found the hidden laptop and hard drives, Sluss pulled out a knife. He was taken into custody after a struggle and being electronically shocked twice.
Sluss has been in custody since that arrest.