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News and Investigations

News & Investigations

News Releases and Public Information

Welcome to the Polk County Sheriff's Office News Room, where the Public Information Officers (PIO's) post all of the information that they release to the news media. PIO's act as liaisons between news media organizations and the Sheriff's Office. The PIO's routinely release timely and accurate information and Crime Stoppers bulletins, and respond to routine and "breaking news" media inquiries. News releases and Crime Stoppers information can be found on this page.

PCSO's full-time Public Information Officers are Brian Bruchey, Carrie Horstman, and Alicia Manautou. The Public Information Officers can be reached by sending an e-mail collectively at

The recent news releases sent out by the PIOs can be found here, and archived releases (older than 2017) can be found here.

Jan 10, 2024

Wyoming youth church leader arrested on Polk warrant for lewd molestation of Polk County girl who was victimized when he visited Florida

Media Contact: Carrie Horstman, Administrator

A 69-year-old Wyoming man who is a worship and church youth group leader has been charged by the Polk County Sheriff's Office with lewd molestation, a first degree felony.

The Riverton Police Department took Richard Shaw, DOB 10/3/1954, into custody for the Polk County Warrant and booked him into the Freemont County Jail.

In December 2023, Shaw visited Lakeland, FL, and when he returned back to Wyoming the Polk County victim disclosed to her mother that Shaw had inappropriately touched her underneath and over the top of her clothing while he was there. The mother called and spoke to Shaw, who admitted to touching the child, who is younger than 12 years old.

Shaw is a worship leader at "Under Command Ministries" in Freemont County, WY, and works in the youth ministry area as well. PCSO detectives notified the Freemont County Sheriff's Office, who will conduct their own investigation to determine if Shaw has victimized any children there with whom he is in contact. PCSO detectives learned that Shaw works at or is affiliated with other churches in the area, and further investigation by Wyoming authorities is ongoing.

PCSO detectives interviewed Shaw, who told them he has an addiction to pornography and that when he touched the Lakeland victim he "gave in to temptation." He was placed under arrest in Wyoming on January 4, 2024, and will be extradited to Polk County at a later date.

“We are working with Wyoming law enforcement to determine if this suspect victimized any other children there - we sincerely hope not. This man should never be allowed to have access to children again." - Grady Judd, Sheriff