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MacDill officer sought out 'pervs,' records in child porn case show

Published Feb. 5, 2014

TAMPA — A major at MacDill Air Force Base was going to be in Washington, D.C., for training at the Pentagon's National Defense University and wanted to make a new friend.

So Air Force Reserve transportation officer David Mario Riley answered an online Craigslist ad from a man who was looking for someone with a sexual interest in children.

Riley wrote an email in December: "Hi, I saw your ad … while looking for other pervs in the area … I will be visiting DC from jan 27-feb 7, but will be alone … and would like to get together with other pervs and explore taboo."

That contact is described in federal court records charging Riley, 37, of Tampa, former commander of the 927th Logistics Readiness Squadron at MacDill, with distributing child pornography.

Federal prosecutors said Riley sent eight photos depicting child pornography to a person he thought was a like-minded individual.

In fact, the person who placed the ad was an undercover police officer working a sting.

Riley was arrested in Washington on Thursday and is being held without bail pending an initial appearance Friday in U.S. District Court. If convicted, Riley faces a minimum prison sentence of five years.

Riley has done a variety of jobs at MacDill since 2005. He commanded the 927th logistics squadron for two years ending in 2010, overseeing transportation issues for troops and equipment, according to the Air Force Reserve Command.

The squadron is affiliated with the 927th Air Refueling Wing, which is a reserve unit at MacDill that flies KC-135 aerial refueling aircraft.

Until last month, Riley was assigned to a logistics branch at U.S. Special Operations Central, or SocCent, a subordinate command of U.S. Central Command, which has its headquarters at MacDill.

The Air Force Reserve Command listed Riley as SocCent "plans division chief," but a spokesman could not confirm whether Riley is the chief or simply assigned to the chief's office.

In an online resume, Riley also lists himself as a CentCom transportation officer. CentCom has spearheaded the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Riley left SocCent for a new job at another command, MacDill officials say, when he traveled to Washington earlier this month to attend unspecified training at the defense university.

In emails or instant messages to the undercover officer, Riley said he had a previous sexual encounter with his ex-girlfriend's 6-year-old daughter, according to an arrest affidavit by a metropolitan police officer in Washington.

Riley, a married father with a 6-year-old daughter, said he had not touched his own child, the affidavit said.

The undercover officer sent Riley a picture of a girl he said was his daughter. Riley, the affidavit said, responded, "What is the purpose of showing me pics of your daughter? Do you want to share her? … no pressure from me. Just curious."

Riley later discussed having a sexual encounter with the girl, police said.

Officials at the MacDill commands where Riley has worked declined to comment on Tuesday.

Times researcher John Martin contributed to this report. William R. Levesque can be reached at levesque@tampabay.com

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