Ira Charles F. Rigger Jr.

Ira Charles F. Rigger Jr. (Photo courtesy of Baltimore County police / June 17, 2011)

The former chief executive of the Padonia Park Club in Cockeysville pleaded guilty Wednesday to distributing child pornography and will serve 18 months in prison.

Ira Charles F. Rigger Jr. was sentenced to 10 years with all but 18 months suspended. He will be required to register as a sex offender and, according to his plea agreement, cannot be in the company of any child under the age of 18, with the exception of his now-8-month-old grandson — and then only in the presence of another adult.

Assistant State's Attorney Keith Pion said Baltimore County police and the FBI were separately investigating child pornography websites and Rigger's IP address came up during the county's investigation. Pion said explicit pictures were found on two computers, one at Rigger's home and the other at the Padonia Park Club.

As a result of Rigger's plea in Baltimore County to one count of distributing child pornography, the FBI will not pursue its case against Rigger as long as he meets the terms of the plea agreement, Pion said. The charge of distributing child pornography came as a result of Rigger's trading the pictures with others on the Internet, according to the prosecutor.

Rigger's attorney, David Irwin, said his client will receive treatment while he's incarcerated at the Baltimore County Detention Center. Rigger underwent a forensic psychiatric examination, and Irwin said the psychiatrist concluded that "Mr. Rigger is not a pedophile. He has an interest in viewing young children."

Irwin added after the hearing that Rigger is "appropriately remorseful, embarrassed and contrite." Irwin emphasized that Rigger has never been accused of having illicit contact with children and that the "Padonia Park Club is still a safe environment for children and families."

Rigger, of the first block of Thurkill Court in Cockeysville, and his family have owned the swim club and child care center on Jenifer Road for decades.

Kathy Angstadt, interim CEO of the club, said Tuesday that the 56-year-old's financial stake in the company is in the process of being "removed" and that he has not drawn a paycheck and has been banned from the property since his arrest.

Rigger was accompanied in court by several members of his family, including his wife, Pam, whom he hugged and kissed before the hearing began. Family members declined to comment. Irwin presented 26 character references to Judge Susan Souder in support of Rigger.

In a halting, emotional statement to the judge, Rigger said, "I need to be punished for what I did. I feel worse for what I did to my family. … I promise there will be no more repeats of this behavior."

In court, Irwin said Rigger has worked in the family business since he was a child.

"This has literally ripped his life apart," he told Souder.

Rigger was also sentenced to serve five years' probation and turn over any computers or electronic equipment with Internet access to the Crimes Against Children's Unit of the Baltimore County police.

An earlier version of this article incorrectly identified Ira Charles F. Rigger Jr.'s attorney. The Sun regrets the error.

don.markus@baltsun.com

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