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Members of Long-Running International Child Pornography Ring Convicted

November 7, 2014  |  Posted by: Giovanni DePhillips
Members of Long-Running International Child Pornography Ring Convicted Image courtesy of consumerfsblog.com

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Two men have been convicted for their roles in a sophisticated conspiracy to distribute child pornography to a secret, world-wide network over the Internet,. The announcement was made by Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.

According to court documents related to the case,  John D. Gries 48, of Bayshore, New York, and James McCullars 56, of Huntsville, Alabama, were found guilty late Nov. 4, 2014, following a six-day jury trial of conspiracy to distribute and receive child pornography, conspiracy to advertise child pornography and engaging in a child exploitation enterprise in connection with a long-running, world-wide child exploitation enterprise.

According to testimony at trial, the enterprise began in 2000 and operated until April 2012.  Gries and McCullars ran various online chat rooms available exclusively to members of the conspiracy and protected by password.

These chat rooms were dedicated to the distribution, receipt and possession of child pornography, and were used by members to discuss and promote the sexual exploitation of children.

Evidence that was presented at the trial along with admissions by other defendants, today’s defendants and many of the other members of the conspiracy amassed large collections of materials depicting child exploitation.

The co-conspirators sought to expand their collections using online chat rooms and a number of online servers, and to evade law enforcement through the use of sophisticated data encryption software.  Dozens of children around the world have been identified as victims of abuse during this investigation.

Other defendants charged as part of this investigation who have pleaded guilty or been found guilty include:

John Edwards, 62, of Indianapolis

Thomas Vaughn, 45, of Anderson, Indiana

John Rex Powell, 43, of Fort Myers, Florida

Donald Printup, 36, of Niagara Falls, New York

Michael Fredette, 46, of Waterford, New York

Robert Guillen, 43, of Wesley Chapel, Florida

David Bebetu, 51, of Agoura Hills, California

Stephen Harvey Dault, 48, of McKinney, Texas

Rick Ricardo Leon, 53, of Arlington, Virginia

Edwards, Fredette and Dault have been sentenced to 17.5 years in prison, 27 years in prison, and 17 years in prison respectively.

Powell was previously convicted as part of an investigation and prosecution of two Australian citizens who allegedly orchestrated the sexual abuse of their adopted son at the hands of men around the world.  He is awaiting sentencing in that matter.

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