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Child Pornography Charges Dropped Against Doctor

November 16, 1994

ROCKFORD, Ill. (AP) _ Child pornography charges have been dropped against a doctor accused of possessing lewd photos of his 3-year-old foster daughter.

″It never helps one’s reputation to be labeled a child pornographer,″ said Dr. Richard Ragsdale, 59, known for taking his battle to ease restrictions on Illinois abortion clinics to the U.S. Supreme Court. ″That is not a pleasant thing to have said about you.″

The case was dismissed Tuesday after prosecutors determined that the pictures were not taken for malicious purposes and the photo session was an isolated incident, State’s Attorney Paul Logli said this morning.

Also Tuesday, Judge John Nielsen convicted Ragsdale’s wife, 46-year-old Debra Demars, of contributing to the neglect of a minor, a misdemeanor.

She was fined $1,000 and sentenced to a year’s probation for taking the pictures showing the child’s genitals.

The girl has since been adopted by another family.

Police arrested Ragsdale Sept. 22 as he picked up the photographs from a photo shop. Managers had tipped off police. He was charged with one count of possession of child pornography, punishable by up to three years in prison.

Ragsdale fought a protracted legal battle in the late 1980s to end what he believed were medically unnecessary rules at the state’s abortion clinics. In 1990, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a settlement easing restrictions on Illinois abortion clinics.

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