Former Oakland Fire Captain Pleads Guilty to Possessing Child Pornography

A former Oakland fire captain will have to register as a sex offender after pleading guilty Tuesday to possessing child pornography.

Richard Chew, 58, was arrested at his Lafayette home on Sept. 7, according to Contra Costa County's Senior Deputy District Attorney Paul Graves.

This week, Chew admitted that he "possessed photographs and videos depicting minors engaged in sexual activity" on Aug. 31, Graves said in a statement. He has been sentenced to 150 days in jail and three years of probation.

The Contra Costa Internet Crimes Against Children task force began investigating Chew on Aug. 19, according to a statement. 

Investigators served a search warrant at Chew's house and workplace and discovered child pornography on his computer and storage devices, the statement said.

Chew was booked into the county jail in Martinez and charged with two counts of child pornography. Bail was set at $200,000. A booking document confirmed his position with the Oakland Fire Department. 

A judge was asked to lower Chew's bail, but he said the severity of the exploitation in the case was so disturbing, he couldn't release Chew, despite an otherwise spotless record.

Investigators said they also found images on Chew's computer at Oakland Fire Station 15.

According to Transparent California, the former fire captain earned $300,000 a year.

NBC Bay Area reported that Chew recommended in January that a building on San Pablo Avenue be shut down for safety reasons, records show. The Oakland Fire Department opted for less drastic measures and in March, it burned down and claimed four lives.

NBC Bay Area's Thom Jensen contributed to this report.

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