A registered nurse who allegedly possessed hundreds of images of child pornography now is accused of taking the graphic pictures using a young Tri-City girl.
The additional charges filed this week against Darrin L. Ruddell elevate the case from downloading child porn off of the internet to the actual production of it, according to prosecutors.
Ruddell, 47, of West Richland, pleaded innocent in Benton County Superior Court to two counts of sexual exploitation of a minor. They include the aggravating circumstance that he violated a position of trust to commit the crimes.
He now faces nine felony counts.
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In February, he was charged with six counts of first-degree possessing depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct and one count of possessing a controlled substance.
Ruddell, who worked for Kadlec, was suspended without pay after the allegations surfaced. He is no longer employed with Kadlec as of Tuesday, a spokeswoman said.
Investigators reportedly have not found evidence that any pictures were taken of patients.
The Benton County Sheriff’s Office got a tip in November from the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force that 1,480 images of child porn had been downloaded to an account.
Investigators connected the images to Ruddell, and in February found several “peek-a-boo” cameras with memory cards inside his home, court documents said.
Law enforcement also discovered loaded syringes and a bottle each of ketamine and lorazepam — sedatives that are known to be used as “date rape” drugs, documents said.
Images recovered from Ruddell’s electronic devices allegedly show children posed while nude, involved in sex acts with other kids and being molested or raped by adult men and women.
Ruddell has been out of custody since posting $150,000 bail. His trial is scheduled June 6.
In the meantime, he has been ordered to have no contact with minors and not to own, possess or use any cellphone or computer.