RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The Richmond food community is reeling after court documents were released of a former local restaurateur who pleaded guilty to child pornography charges in October.
According to court documents, officers with the Richmond Police Department received information that a user uploaded several images of child pornography to a Dropbox account in December 2018. The email address and IP address used to access the Dropbox account were both linked to John Maher.
On April 17, 2019, Richmond police officers executed a search warrant at Maher’s residence in the city of Richmond. Several electronic devices belonging to Maher were seized as a result.
A forensic examination of Maher’s MacBook Air revealed that the device had been used on April 7, 2019, to download a 23-minute video “constituting child pornography” depicting a 13 to 15-year-old boy.
Maher pleaded guilty to a single count of receiving child pornography. He faces a minimum term of five years of imprisonment and a maximum term of 20 years of imprisonment as well as a fine of up to $250,000. Maher is also required by law to register as a sex offender.
The release of court documents prompted one of Maher’s former employer’s at the Church Hill restaurant, Grisette, to release a statement denouncing Maher’s actions.
“I knew this person was going to prison before yesterday because they came by the restaurant in October and told me themselves, and apologized for the PR nightmare that would ensue. It had been over a year since they worked here, no details were offered to me, and I haven’t seen or spoken to them since. I didn’t know the extent of the crime until yesterday when I saw those court docs, and it made me sick. Hearing that a former employee is going to prison is different from knowingly employing someone convicted of these crimes. Like anyone, I would never do that.”
In January 2017, Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney officiated Maher’s wedding. At that time, Maher owned and managed The Rogue Gentlemen, a restaurant and bar in the neighborhood of Jackson Ward. He was also reportedly a supporter of Stoney’s candidacy for mayor and held a fundraiser for him at The Rogue Gentlemen during his campaign.
“I’m the father of two young boys,” the Grisette statement continues. “More than anything, I feel pain for the victims. I appreciate the people in our restaurant community that have reached out with their support.