Tuesday, March 11, 2008

N.C. man charged in child porn

Marlon A. Walker

(Raleigh) News & Observer

Ronald White's criminal record lists a nearly 24-year-old charge for running a red light as his lone brush with the law.

But now the 59-year-old faces up to life in prison, accused of being part of what FBI investigators call one of the most intelligent child pornography operations they've ever seen.

White, along with 13 other men in the United States, is accused of participating in an international ring that produced or traded more than 400,000 images and videos of child pornography. Department of Justice officials said that since August 2006, the men had been using sophisticated encryption methods to avoid detection by law enforcement.

The network operated on an Internet newsgroup, which, according to a federal indictment, uses a network of computers to enable file sharing.

Two men, from Pennsylvania and Texas, were arrested Feb. 29 on criminal complaints in the case.

Once law enforcement investigators gained access to the group, they watched as members traded photos and uploaded items onto the group board.

Little is known of White's alleged involvement in the network. Department of Justice officials did not answer questions about whether they think he was responsible for uploading images or video to the network.

Investigators said a person on the network, operating under the user name "Roadkill," commented on photos on Jan. 2, 2007, posted by another member of the network. Roadkill, according to the indictment, was White's user name on the network.

A car was outside White's home at 413 Piedmont Way in Burlington on Thursday afternoon, but no one responded to a knock on the door.

Included toddlers

Details of the indictment, unsealed in 1st District Court in Pensacola, Fla., on Feb. 29, detailed the alleged goings-on of network participants. Photos and video depicted children -- some as young as toddlers -- in various poses or scenes with adults. Network members commented with praise for the young children, including one girl who a member said "is to die for in those pigtails." Another man, a James Freeman from Florida, called the group "the greatest group of pedos to ever gather in one place."

A call to the FBI to find out whether victims identified in the images and videos were being sought was not returned.

Laura Sweeney, a spokeswoman for the Department of Justice, said Thursday night that all the defendants were either being transported or were already in federal custody in Pensacola, Fla.

The case was part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide effort to protect children from becoming victims of online exploitation and abuse. In all, 22 people were arrested from the U.S., Australia, Canada, England and Germany.

(News researcher Lamara Williams contributed to this report.)

Child Porn in Public Library

A man accused of viewing child pornography on a public-library computer was arrested after Lindsay police said they found child pornography in his home.

Police served a search warrant Tuesday at the home of Donny Lynn Chrisler, 39, in the 600 block of West Hermosa Street. Chrisler, detained earlier by police at the library, was arrested after police found "numerous items of child pornography" inside the home, said Lindsay Police Capt. Rich Wilkinson. The investigation began when police received an anonymous report that a man at the library was viewing child porn on a public computer there. Firewalls in the library's computer system normally block users from viewing Web sites with pornography, Wilkinson said, but in this case Chrisler was using a private e-mail account and transferring images to a computer disc.

Chrisler has a computer in his home but did not have access to the Internet, Wilkinson said. Chrisler's statements and computer use records led police to believe that the man had viewed child pornography at the library before, Wilkinson said.

The sexually-explicit images police said he viewed on the library computer — as well as those police say they found in his home, mostly on his computer — appeared to have been taken from Web sites. Most were of boys who appeared to be 18 or younger, they said.

There were no indications that Chrisler committed any illicit acts with children, Wilkinson said. Chrisler has no criminal record that police are aware of.

Besides being arrested on suspicion of possessing child pornography, Chrisler was arrested on suspicion of participating in the production or presentation of obscene matter in public places. Viewing such images in a library or any other public place is a crime, Wilkinson said.

Marine to plead guilty in child porn case

By Gidget Fuentes - Staff writer
Posted : Tuesday Mar 11, 2008 11:50:12 EDT

OCEANSIDE, Calif. — A San Diego-based Marine will plead guilty in federal court to charges of possessing child pornography he obtained by e-mail.

According to papers filed Tuesday with the U.S. District Court’s Southern District, Daniel Joseph Tarchala will plead guilty in the case prompted by an investigation by the FBI’s “cyber squad.”

Tarchala, 26, is scheduled to appear May 27 before District Court Judge Marilyn Huff at San Diego’s downtown courthouse.

Tarchala was stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar and living in nearby El Cajon, Calif., when FBI and Naval Criminal Investigative Service agents first questioned him in October about child pornography he allegedly received from a Philadelphia-area man being investigated by the FBI, according to court documents. He is still on active duty with Marine Aircraft Group 11, but is “being processed out” of the Marine Corps, according to a Miramar spokesman. His rank was not immediately available.

Agents said they tracked Tarchala through his AOL e-mail account, with information the Internet company provided under subpoena for the user name “tarchusmc81,” which the FBI contends was the instant message account allegedly used to send the Philadelphia man pornographic photos and videos.

According to the federal complaint filed in court, Tarchala first denied any involvement but later “began to cooperate and advised that he has in fact sent and received e-mails containing child pornography” through his AOL account. A forensic search of a computer at his apartment found 991 images of child pornography, including 166 photographs and five videos, and the images include children under age 10 engaged in sexually explicit acts, the complaint states.

“Tarchala said it was stupid and that the reason that he looked at child pornography was because it was ‘taboo.’ He has been sending and receiving images/videos of child pornography for the last one-and-a-half to two years,” an FBI special agent wrote in the complaint.

Tarchala was arrested Jan. 28 and later released on $15,000 bond. He could face a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and mandatory registration as a sex offender.

Girlfriend Finds Child Porn; Man Arrested

Police said they took Luethke's computer as part of their investigation.
A Lincoln man was arrested on Friday after his girlfriend found child pornography, police said.

Bradley Luethke's girlfriend found five DVDs containing child porn, police said.

The girls in the videos appeared to be between the ages of 5 and 14, police said.

Luethke, 37, was cited on suspicion of possession of child pornography.

Sex Offender

A sex offender is a person who has been criminally charged and convicted of, or has pled guilty to, or pled Nolo contendere to a sex crime.

Crimes requiring mandatory sex offender registration may include downloading pornographic material of persons under the age of 18, (child pornography), rape and even non-sexual offenses such as kidnapping.

The term sexual offender is a broad term, with sexual predator being used to describe a more severe physical or repeat sexual offense. Sexual offenders are also sometimes classified into levels [1], where the highest level offenders have the most aggravating crimes and thus, the most risk to the public and usually must register as a sex offender for their entire lives.

Low level sexual offenders may serve only a probationary sentence and only register for 10 years as well as having less restrictions placed on them compared to higher level offenders. As a label of identity it is used in criminal psychology.

Especially in the United States and the United Kingdom, the person, if convicted, is most likely required to register with the respective jurisdiction's sex offender registry, a county- or statewide database that is often public and accessible to everyone through the internet.

Predator captured was Fugitive of the Week

A convicted killer and rapist who calls himself "Candy" has finally been captured.
Jerry Malone, who hadn't been seen in a year, was caught in Toledo Friday by members of the Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force.

Malone, 63, was convicted of rape in 1964 and of murder and sexual battery in 1993.

He was profiled on Channel 3 News as the U.S. Marshal's Fugitive of the Week in December, 2007.

The Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force considered Malone dangerous because of his extensive and violent criminal history.

"He has been involved in the criminal justice system since the 60's. He needs to be monitored and he needs to be brought back into custody quickly," said Deputy U.S. Marshal David Siler at the time Malone was profiled on Channel 3 News.

The law requires sexual predators to report their current address to the local sheriff and to maintain contact.

Malone did not and became a wanted fugitive.

Huntington tracks sexual predators breaking town law


Huntington officials next week will be touting the success of an interactive map on the town Web site that pinpoints where sexual predators live within the community.

On Tuesday officials will discuss how the map recently revealed that six level 2 and level 3 sexual predators were violating town law by living within a specified radius of restricted areas.

Town law prohibits convicted sex offenders required to register with the state under Megan's Law from living near sensitive areas which include schools, parks, and day care centers, churches, synagogues and mosques.

The town's public safety department recently identified the predator living within 1,320 feet of Birchwood Elementary School in South Huntington, officials said.

Notice was given to the person to relocate within 45 days. The predator obliged and relocated and re-registered in Pennsylvania.

Board member Stuart Besen who sponsored the sex predator legislation last year, will demonstrate how the map is being used as an enforcement tool in identifying, tracking and ultimately removing sexual predators from the town's sensitive areas.

The news conference will take place at 11:30 a.m. at town hall, 100 Main Street.

"One of the primary reasons we are making this announcement," Besen said Friday, "is because unfortunately people usually only hear when government doesn't work. In this case government is working because of the tough legislation and even more importantly then tough legislation is the enforcement tool and that is the map, which ... ultimately helps us remove the predator."

Currently five additional notices for relocation have been sent to new postings of violators living in sensitive areas within the town.

To view the map, go to town.huntington.ny.us/permit_pics/644.pdf.

Indiana House toughens sex-crime sentences

The House voted 94-1 Thursday to make child molesters and other criminals serve more time behind bars.

House Bill 1271 would give people convicted of certain serious child-molesting offenses and murders involving sex offenses one day of credit for six days of incarceration.

This ultimately means these criminals would serve 85 percent of their sentences instead of the current rate of 50 percent in Indiana.

Because the new credit-time law would pertain only to newly convicted offenders, the cost to Indiana doesn't ramp up for years.

The legislation also clarifies in state law that prisoners cannot receive dual credit for receiving both a high school diploma and a general equivalent diploma.

The measure now moves to the governor for his consideration.

18 train cars derail along Wabash track

Eighteen cars of a 25-car train derailed on the west side of Wabash.

The Wabash County Sheriff's Department says no one was injured and no hazardous materials were on the train when the derailment occurred Wednesday afternoon.

Norfolk Southern is investigating the cause of the derailment.


Colleges join SCAN for Easter baskets

Ten area universities and colleges are collaborating to collect 800 Easter baskets to give to children of SCAN (Stop Child Abuse and Neglect) clients. The project, sponsored by the Northeast Indiana Alumni Directors Consortium, runs through March 17.

Wrapped Easter baskets filled with commercially wrapped items can be dropped off at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne; Grace College; University of St. Francis; Indiana Wesleyan; Huntington University; Ivy Tech; Taylor University Fort Wayne; Manchester College; Tri-State University; and Indiana Tech. Cash donations will also be accepted by alumni offices to buy baskets.

At IPFW, baskets can be dropped at the Kettler Hall or Walb Student Union information desks or the alumni office in Walb Student Union, Room 125. For more information, call Jennifer Bosk, IPFW alumni director, at 481-6174.

Democrats take break...Ohio, Indiana dig out...UNC student's funeral...

Democrats take break...Ohio, Indiana dig out...UNC student's funeral

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) The Democratic presidential candidates are getting another day of rest today in their grueling battle for the party's White House nomination. Barack Obama regained some momentum yesterday with a win in the Wyoming caucuses over Hillary Clinton.

Mississippi votes Tuesday.

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) Residents of Ohio and Indiana will be shoveling their way out of record-breaking snowfall totals.

Columbus, Ohio, got more than 20 inches of snow yesterday, shattering its old mark of 15 inches set in 1910.

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) Funeral services will be held today in Georgia for University of North Carolina student body president Eve Carson. The 22-year-old senior was found shot dead about a mile from the UNC campus last week. The school's president will lead a delegation of senior administrators in attending today's service.

CAPITOL HILL (AP) Two Senate Armed Services Committee members are asking government investigators to find out where all of Iraq's oil revenue has been going. Democrat Carl Levin and Republican John Warner say U.S. taxpayers have funded Iraq reconstruction while billions of dollars in Iraqi oil revenue have ended up in non-Iraqi banks.

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) Virginia lawmakers have passed a state law that would require adults who French kiss children under the age of 13 to register as sex offenders. The legislation is a response to a case where a 10-year-old girl was French-kissed by the 62-year-old husband of her babysitter.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Everyone agrees: Chaotic youth prison needs help

Superintendent Dion Norman watches as youths at the Marion Juvenile Correctional Facility cross the compound. He said a small number cause most of the facility's problems.

James D. DeCamp | Dispatch

MARION, Ohio -- Twice in 90 minutes, juvenile-corrections officers ran across the massive courtyard in response to man-down alarms, calls by other guards seeking help.

The electronic pleas for assistance constituted business as usual on a recent afternoon in the Marion Juvenile Correctional Facility.

Another fight. Another unruly youth. Another act of violence. Another day at Marion.

The home to 294 of Ohio's oldest and worst juvenile offenders is out of control amid violent assaults, gang activity and a shortage of guards, critics suggest.

The numbers last year -- 316 youth-on-youth assaults and 188 youth-on-staff assaults -- escalated by a third from 2006.

It is a place, state officials agree, that must change to avoid being little more than a teenage way station on the path to more crime and adult time.

About 1,700 Department of Youth Services and State Highway Patrol incident reports from 2007 and hundreds of pages of expert findings form a common bottom line:

"Marion is a dangerous place," one fact-finder wrote.

Fred Cohen, a law professor called upon to examine six state corrections systems, as well as other specialists, examined Ohio's juvenile facilities as part of a pending lawsuit to improve conditions.

Their findings and a Dispatch review of state records demonstrate the depth of Marion's problems. Outnumbered, overworked and undertrained juvenile-correctional officers are afraid of the "boys." Half of those confined are adults doing time for violent crime. Youths can be held in youth-services institutions until age 21.

Assaults on staff members have resulted in a broken nose, a slash across the face, choking, unconsciousness, bites, a blown-out knee and the indignity of being doused with milk cartons filled with urine.

Guards, teachers and other prison workers regularly are assaulted. Last year, they missed the equivalent of seven years of workdays because of injuries and disabilities. Large youth fights have sent staff members to the hospital four, five, six at a time.

Slightly more than half of the frustrated, frightened and fatigued guards quit last year, some walking away from $15.80-an-hour jobs after only a few days.

Youths are afraid of the guards, who are under fire for being too quick to go "hands on" with needless and excessive force when trouble erupts and sometimes lying about or failing to report use of force, the outside reviews found.

Forty-one youths required medical attention, from first aid to emergency-room visits, after being restrained by guards last year: a broken arm, a dislocated shoulder, unconsciousness after being pinned to the floor, head injuries, a broken wrist.

Youths also fear one another: Leaders of geographically based gangs order hits on other inmates. Most big rumbles are gang-related amid what an administrator describes as a "growing number of dangerous, combative youth."

More than a third of the prisoners are Heartless Felons or Head Busters, feuding gangs that control contraband and demand "taxes" on food and hygiene items.

Members of the Felons, the dominant gang, are from Cleveland, Youngstown and Toledo. The Head Busters are from Cincinnati, Dayton and Columbus.

Two Marion staff members told investigators that they think other workers assist the 19-year-old leader of the Felons, described by one investigator as a "charming" sociopath. A probe of the allegation is under way.

The team of experts asked to review the Marion prison found inadequate mental-health services and a dysfunctional school. They said it is a place where an 18-year-old rapist in the mental-health unit forced a 12-year-old boy to perform oral sex three times last year.

Offenders that young are not typical at Marion. The 12-year-old was there because it houses the youth-services unit for those with the worst mental illnesses.

The Marion facility's neighbors, two medium-security adult prisons, are more than seven times larger, but it had about 10 times as many assaults last year.

It is a place that will be changed, vowed Thomas Stickrath, director of the Department of Youth Services.

"We're facing a challenging transition," he said. "We've planted a lot of seeds, and it takes a while for them to germinate."

Guards no longer wear uniforms of authority. They sport bright blue dress shirts and khakis. They are being taught how to use words instead of force to rein in unruly youths. There's more security, along with more teachers and mental-health workers. Fewer youths are being locked up in seclusion.

Assaults have been dwindling for months now, Stickrath said. "I'm optimistic. … Culture change takes a while," he said.

Critics consider the Marion lockup a microcosm of what is wrong with the Department of Youth Services.

State officials are trying to strike deals by April 1 to improve conditions in juvenile prisons to settle both a federal class-action lawsuit and U.S. Justice Department findings of unconstitutional treatment of youths.

"It will be a huge challenge to turn Marion around," said Alphonse Gerhardstein, a Cincinnati lawyer handling the settlement of the youth-services lawsuit on behalf of youths and their families. "It's in crisis -- and everyone knows it. … The violence must be addressed."

The independent, court-appointed fact-finder and a team of experts blasted Ohio's juvenile-detention facilities in a report released early this year as part of the lawsuit against the state.

"The needless and excessive use of force is ingrained within ODYS. … Marion is in the top tier" of verbally and physically abusive guards, their report said.

The unionized juvenile-correctional officers, represented by the Ohio Civil Service Employees Association, think they are being made scapegoats and are beginning to suffer from administrators' "hands-off" policy toward youth.

"We're scared, and with good reason," said local union leader Harold Young, a 29-year guard who has worked at Marion since 2001. He says youths have the upper hand and are provoking staff members who they know have been told "hands off." Guards fear for their jobs if they confront out-of-line offenders, Young said.

"Policies and procedures don't allow you to correct these youth and make it safe. We really don't have anything that says we are in charge," he said.

Marion has 126 guards, and 20 more are being hired, but it's not enough, Young said, with the number often available for duty fewer than 90 amid injuries, sick leave, vacations and a high rate of absenteeism.

Average workweeks include 24 hours of overtime, much of it mandatory. The long hours burn out the guards as quickly as the youths, Young said. "You scream, sometimes, wanting to get out of here."

A shortage of guards endangers both employees and youths, the fact-finding report found. Twenty more will "not solve the staffing problem," Gerhardstein said.

Marion's overall youth-to-guard ratio is slightly above 12-to-1, but it increases depending upon duties such as transporting offenders out of the facility. In housing units, the ratio of youth and guards directly supervising them generally is 24-to-1.

Adding 20 guards would nudge the overall ratio closer to 10-to-1, but documents underlying the lawsuit against the state suggest a desire for an 8-to-1 ratio. "We're vastly outnumbered," Young said. "People are left working alone."

Stickrath said more help is on the way. Mandatory overtime is dropping. And the department does demand accountability of inmates and will deal with those who want to intimidate and harass the staff, he said. Guards will be supported.

But there will be "zero tolerance" toward guards who use excessive force. "Some of the videos I've seen …," Stickrath said. "My philosophy is hands-off. … We don't need to combat with the kids."

In e-mails, department officials express frustration about the inability to end gang activity.

Dion Norman, the superintendent at Marion, said department officials for the first time are "sending a message" to the gangs and gangster wannabes.

On Jan. 24, the flashing of gang signs over breakfast led to a disturbance that nearly careened out of control. More than 100 inmates ran loose in the cafeteria and courtyard, with dozens fighting for several minutes. While ultimately not needed, Marion sent out an emergency call for assistance from state troopers.

The uprising alarmed union leader Young.

"When you are talking numbers, they clearly outnumber us. If they wanted to actively take over the place, they could take over the place," he said.

In the first use of Ohio's gang law in a juvenile facility, state officials are seeking indictments to charge as many as two dozen inmates with participating in a criminal gang in hopes of packing them off to adult prisons.

The most disruptive youths also are getting new training to defuse their violence and allow them to return to the general population.

"A small amount of kids cause most of the problems," Norman said. These are, he said, tough, older, bigger kids from broken homes with little education and little hope. They are tough to turn round, he said.

"All the courts do when they send them to us is take the guns out of their hands," Norman said. "We're winning the battle; we just need more resources."

Opened in 1999, the Marion youth prison was built much like an adult prison. Federal fact-finder Cohen called it "the crown jewel in the previous administration's efforts to apply the adult corrections metaphor to juvenile corrections and DYS."

While two 24-bed units are closed because of a staff shortage, the remainder of the institution is overcrowded at about 120 percent of capacity, with one 24-bed unit recently housing 46 offenders.

The department recently announced that it's moving to release up to 200 of 1,800 statewide offenders near the end of their terms to lessen overcrowding and improve conditions.


How bad is it? Slightly more than half of the frustrated and frightened guards quit last year, and the inmates are afraid of the guards and one another.

Let’s Fight This Terrible Crime Against Our Children

PARADE Contributing Editor Andrew Vachss has made the protection of our most vulnerable citizens his life’s work. He is an attorney whose practice, for nearly four decades, has been devoted exclusively to the representation of children, many of them victims of sexual abuse. This experience has made him an outspoken advocate for the dignity and rights of children, a theme he also has pursued through his best-selling novels. This week, we ask readers to join Vachss’ call-to-arms against a despicable crime that is growing at an alarming pace.

Statistics show that child pornography is the fastest-growing of all Internet businesses, estimated to bring in several billion dollars a year. But while such information may enrage or frighten us, it changes nothing. Our knowledge of cold statistics will not alter the conduct of those who take pleasure or profit in the exploitation of children. Instead, if we are to wage war, we must know our enemy. We need to know more about those who create this unspeakable “product,” why they do it and the various ways it is used.

The term “pornography” may give rise to discussions about what constitutes art. It may invoke issues of free speech or censorship. But no matter how you feel about pornography in general, child pornography does not belong in that debate. No child is capable, emotionally or legally, of consenting to being photographed for sexual purposes. Thus, every image of a sexually displayed child—be it a photograph, a tape or a DVD—records both the rape of the child and an act against humanity.

Child pornography has become a business so profitable that it is no longer limited to pedophiles. Demand exceeds supply and always will. (Some pedophiles, if they had the resources, would acquire a copy of every single piece of child pornography ever produced.) The risk/gain ratio is extremely favorable. And the return on investment is extraordinary. What crime syndicate would pass up such an opportunity?

Compare production of child pornography with another syndicate crime: trafficking in cocaine. Effective production of cocaine requires control of the cultivation fields, maintenance of private armies, complex laboratory skills and equipment, smuggling expertise and many levels of bribery. Because of harsh international drug laws, moving large quantities means risking a life sentence or, in some countries, a death sentence. As a result, those in the production chain have a great incentive to inform upward if captured.

And, even when the syndicate succeeds, it must then begin all over again. Once cocaine is sold, it is gone.

In contrast, production of child pornography requires only equipment that anyone can buy at a local mall. Because much of the original product is “home-grown”—produced by the parents or caretakers of the victims and then offered for distribution to a syndicate—the risk of capture is low. And the penalties are much lower than they should be, considering both the damage done and the profit realized. Once the images are created, they can be copied forever. Even seizure of the original pictures means nothing: Images on the Internet can never be destroyed. The only things “used up” in the child pornography business are its victims.

We justify draconian sentences for drug trafficking because it “hurts our children.” And it does. But no mere words could ever truly describe the daily torture of victims who were forced to participate in child pornography years ago and now, as adults, see images of themselves “performing” on the Internet. Do I believe that those who “merely collect the images” would stop if they heard that same pain? No. All pedophiles—even the ones who describe their predatory conduct as “love”—lack empathy. The pain of others is immaterial to the pursuit of their own pleasures. And for the overt sadists, such pain would only increase the value of their “collections.”

That is why we must begin to treat so-called “simple possession” of child pornography as the heinous crime it is. Every purchase of child pornography encourages further growth of this evil business: from “custom” child pornography—the sale of images of child rape created to order for the consumer—to “real-time” child pornography, where subscribers pay to watch the streamed online rape of children as it occurs. Still another market exists in recorded images of children being physically abused, even tortured. Some of these are marketed outright for the sexual gratification of the viewers, while others are camouflaged as “instructional materials for disciplinarians.”

I understand there are those who innocently (if unwisely) click a hyperlink received in an e-mail and find themselves looking at child pornography. That does happen. But it doesn’t happen to the same individual dozens of times. Ask any investigator how many images are found on the average hard drive of a computer seized pursuant to a warrant, and “thousands” is the number you will hear most often.

Personal arousal or stimulation is certainly one reason for collecting child pornography. But there are more sinister uses. One is to desensitize potential victims. Today’s children are creatures of the media. What they see in the movies must be “what other kids do,” and the predatory pedophile skillfully introduces child pornography among other child-enticing “games” offered during the “grooming phase.” This allows him to gradually lower the child’s resistance. This is yet another reason to radically increase the penalties for simple possession of child pornography. It is not just some degenerate form of entertainment; it is a deadly weapon that creates new victims.

Beyond that, child pornography also is used by pedophiles as personal validation. Each image tells the collector that he (or she) is not a pervert but a victim, one whose sexual interests—although unaccepted by a “repressive society”—are shared by many. Treatment specialists are always telling us that pedophiles suffer from low self-esteem. The truth is that nothing raises the self-esteem of such individuals more than the certain proof that they are not alone. And such validation is never more than a mouse-click away.

Now that we know what child pornography really is, we can understand the monstrous danger it poses to children throughout the world. The question then becomes: What can we do?

First, we must raise the stakes. With significantly higher penalties—for everything from simple possession to production with intent to distribute—we will immediately accomplish two things: 1) Some purchasers and producers will be deterred, because the risk/reward paradigm will have suddenly shifted. 2) As for those who refuse to be deterred, we will be able to incapacitate them for very long periods via extensive prison sentences.

Second, we must abolish the statute of limitations, both civil and criminal, on acts involving the production of child pornography. This will preserve each victim’s opportunity to sue even if his or her individual identity is not discovered until many years have passed. It will also foreclose the “Internet defense,” meaning that there will be no need to prove the date on which the original sexual victimization was recorded.

Third, to further deter criminal syndicates, we must enact federal laws to allow the United States to sue on behalf of any as-yet-unidentified children depicted in seized child pornography. This will allow predators to be immediately stripped of their property and profits, which can be held in escrow until their victims are identified.

Fourth, we must recognize that child pornography is an international crime. Many of the servers that contain and distribute it are safe-housed in foreign countries. Typically, a “gateway” operation is set up to protect credit card users from discovery when they purchase child pornography from overseas merchants. But when such a Web site’s defenses are broken, too often only the American participants ever see the inside of a prison or face forfeiture of their filthy profits. Since we bring economic sanctions against countries that commit human-rights violations, why should we do less when child-pornography syndicates operate with the clear complicity of their governments overseas?

We should negotiate full-cooperation treaties with all the governments with whom we do business, so that child-pornography syndicates have no protection, no matter where they are housed. We should not be misled by noble-sounding rhetoric: When foreign governments claim that this is a privacy issue, they are in fact simply protecting organized crime—and are being well paid to do so. When a U.S. investigation reveals an overseas component to a child-pornography ring, our government must demand full access to all available evidence and insist that the host country will prosecute all offenders and enforce appropriate penalties.

Finally, we must acknowledge that a war cannot be fought without resources, and then demand that our legislators commit those resources. For this war, we need more trained investigators, more computer experts, the most advanced equipment—and the federal muscle to force cooperation from other governments (while, of course, offering them the same).

Child pornography is a multi-victim crime and a multibillion-dollar business. We already know what children are “worth” to predatory pedophiles and criminal syndicates. Now is the time to show the world what they are worth to us.

Tougher child porn measure nears vote

Updated: 03/09/08 7:11 AM

New York State would toughen penalties against child pornography crimes — in some cases using laws aimed at organized crime — under legislation the State Senate is expected to approve early this week.

The bill, introduced in January by State Sen. Dale M. Volker, RDepew, covers a variety of child exploitation issues, from possession and production of child pornography, to the presentation of Internet evidence in court. It also would offer counseling and “safe haven” services for exploited children. Volker had held a public hearing in Buffalo, featuring witnesses from throughout the country, in response to a series published in The Buffalo News, “The Child Porn Pipeline,” that explained the explosion of child pornography on the Internet.

The bill also would toughen child prostitution laws.

In the Assembly, the Democratic majority was reviewing the proposal.

“I intend to have my staff carefully look at the bill. There may be something we can do,” said Assemblyman Joseph R. Lentol, D-Brooklyn, Volker’s Assembly counterpart.

But Lentol also noted that some of the provisions in Volker’s bill “don’t sound unreasonable to me.”

Volker, who heads the Senate Codes Committee, said he doesn’t expect the Assembly to enact all aspects of his bill, but he’s optimistic that the Democratic-controlled body will vote on the proposals in some form later in the session, possibly when a second public hearing is conducted in New York City in the spring.

“Something will pass,” Volker said. “This is way too serious. The New York police are telling us it’s clear to them organized crime is getting involved in pornography.

“They want the power to use the Organized Crime task force and the powers of the [Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations] Act.”

Under the Senate bill, some child pornography and child prostitution cases could be prosecuted as “enterprise corruption” if authorities believe organized crime was involved.

The bill also would:

• Increase penalties for production and distribution of child pornography, sometimes to the level of a violent felony, with the strongest sentences for cases involving children under 11, or those in which parents sexually exploited their own children.

• Increase penalties, under a system similar to the one the federal government uses, for those possessing multiple child pornography images. The more images and the younger the children, the stiffer the sentence.

• Allow administrative warrants from district attorneys or the state attorney general if a judge is not immediately available when an investigation into an Internet crime finds a child’s life is in immediate danger.

• Increase penalties for trying to remove material from a computer during a known investigation into the contents of that computer.

• Require Internet providers to retain records for a yet-to-be specified time period when requested by authorities.

• Expand laws covering the luring of children for the purpose of sex offense and child pornography to include use of telephones or electronic communication devices.

• Encourage counties to provide safe haven for sexually exploited children.

While Volker’s bill is expected to get Senate approval this week, the Senate last month passed legislation proposed by Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo aimed at keeping sexual predators off social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook.

The bill recently was endorsed by the Western New York legislative delegation, according to Cuomo’s office, and is now being reviewed in the Assembly. Staff in Cuomo’s office say they hope the Assembly will approve that bill next week.

Pedophilia has no religion

By Vicki Polin
Rocky Mountain News
Wednesday, March 5, 2008

RE: Targeting the church By Vincent Carroll

I find it outrageous that the Catholic church has been attempting to take away potential civil rights of every adult survivor of child sexual abuse. We all need to remember that the problem of sexual predators is NOT limited to those who are Catholic. Pedophilia has no religion. There are child molesters within every ethnic and community group — religious and non-religious.

What I find interesting is the fact that with all the interest groups out there, the only opponent of this bill is the Catholic Church. Do they really believe that opposing this bill will help their image and assets? Their actions make me wonder what else they are hiding. If the church really wanted to correct their image the only solution is through transparency.

With the passage of HB 1011, survivors of child sexual abuse will finally have the opportunity to have their day in court. This bill would make those who commit sex crimes against children and those who cover up the crimes to be held accountable for their actions. This also means that alleged sex offenders will be exposed — meaning they will no longer be able to continue on with their molesting careers. Each time this happens it means one less child will be come the next victim of a sex crime.

I personally feel it is cruel and unusual punishment to even considering placing a statutes of limitations on filing civil suit in cases involving survivors of childhood sexual abuse. There are many reasons why I say this. One major reason is that it takes most survivors many years to be in a place where they are ready and willing to enter into counseling and begin to deal with the horror of their childhood.

Vicki Polin, MA, NCC, LCPC, ATR-BC Founder, Executive Director -The Awareness Center, Inc.
(the international Jewish Coalition Against Sex

Tracy man gets 25 years for child porn

Manuel Gutierrez was arrested during Operation Valley Predator
By Mike Martinez, STAFF WRITER

TRACY — A Tracy man who was swept up as part of Operation Valley Predator in 2006 after child pornography was found on his home computer, was sentenced to 25 years in federal prison Friday.

Manuel Gutierrez, Jr. 47, was also given a lifetime of supervised release once he gets out of prison by U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. O'Neill in Fresno.

He's also required to register as a sex offender, and has his access to computers, the Internet, and minors restricted, according to a plea agreement struck last November.

Tracy Police Detective Octavio Lopez called Gutierrez one of the "most dangerous" criminals he's ever come into contact with.

"Not only did he have child pornography, he also had pictures of random children," Lopez said.

"They weren't pornographic in nature, getting out of school or other random settings, but he may have been looking for new victims and doing his research. There was no real reason for him to have the pictures, there was nobody he knew in any of them."

Gutierrez plead guilty to one count of sexual exploitation of a minor after a federal grand jury indicted him on four felonies. He admitted to using a digital camera to produce sexually explicit images of a victim less than 12 years old.

Gutierrez was arrested in October 2006, where during a probation check of his residence, images of child pornography were found on his computer, investigators said.

At the time of his arrest, Gutierrez was on probation after being convicted in Superior Court in San Joaquin County for possession of child pornography.

He was one of 135 people arrested during Operation Valley Predator, which targeted convicted sex offenders to determine if they were in compliance with their sentencing requirements.

The operation involved officers from more than 80 federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, including Tracy and Manteca.

"We don't do them as often as we like because it's tough to get all the resources together," Lopez said.

"But when you do have them, you never know what you're going to get, and sometimes you come up on cases like this. It's definitely rewarding to the families that have been victimized by him."

Defense opens in Magalia murder trial

By TERRY VAU DELL - Staff Writer

OROVILLE -- The defense is scheduled to open its case today in the Darrin Pacheco Magalia murder trial.

On Friday, an autopsy surgeon testified that allegedly during a fight with the defendant's brother, Paul Prestridge, 29, of Magalia suffered stab wounds to the back, leg and chest — the latter thrust done with enough force to puncture all the way through his heart.

Forensic pathologist Dr. Thomas Resk said the wounds were "consistent" with having been made by a steak knife, which at least three witnesses claimed Pacheco, 39, of Auburn had grabbed that night from the kitchen in his brother's home.

Pacheco's attorney, Robert Marshall, has argued that whatever his client did, he was lawfully justified in protecting the life of his brother, Rick Pacheco.

Witnesses at a barbecue in the brother's home on Sept. 3, 2006, have testified that Prestridge, who like Darrin Pacheco had served time in prison, punched the defendant's brother several times in the face, after accusing him of being a "chomo-lover."

A former prison official called by the defense attorney told the jury on Friday that is inmate-talk for someone who befriends a child molester.

Outside of the jury's presence, Marshall asserted that by that statement Prestridge had, in effect, "marked (the brother) for death."

But because there was no evidence what was in the defendant's mind, or even whether he knew what the term "chomo" meant, deputy district attorney Kurt Worley objected to the defense using the phrase to try to "create a defense" to the fatal stabbing.

Butte County Superior Court Judge Gerald Hermansen agreed with the prosecutor, and would only permit the prison expert to testify that child molesters are reviled by inmates and must be placed into protective custody to prevent being attacked.

The Magalia homicide case is expected to go to the jury later this week.

The prosecution rested Friday, after calling Resk, who conducted the autopsy on the slain man.

The county pathologist said the fatal attack could have occurred as testified earlier by the brother's girlfriend, Amanda Baum.

She told the jury her boyfriend had the other man in a headlock on the floor, and heard Prestridge say, "I'm done, I'm going home" when the defendant made what appeared to be "punching motions" toward Prestridge.

Moments later, she claims she saw a steak knife on the floor near the combatants and placed it on a table.

Although a fingerprint expert was unable to obtain any usable prints from the steak knife, he testified to finding the defendant's bloody left thumbprint on a larger butcher knife, also recovered from the scene.

Baum alleges that Darrin Pacheco had the larger knife in his hand when he tried to return to the fight moments later, but that she managed to take it away from him.

The stab wound to the heart caused extensive internal bleeding, resulting in Prestridge's rapid death, Resk told the jury Friday.

He testified that the slain man also suffered numerous scrapes and bruises to his head and body, and what appeared to be a shallow cut to the back of one hand.

The prosecutor asked whether someone stabbed through the heart could have stood up, punched Rick Pacheco once more in the face and walked several feet toward the front door before finally collapsing, as witnesses have testified.

Resk agreed that while that might not be possible for some people, for a man of Prestridge's age and strength, it was "not unlikely."

The defense attorney got the pathologist to concede that because he couldn't determine the precise angle of the fatal attack, he couldn't rule out the possibility of the stab wounds being inflicted by the defendant's brother with his free hand, while he had Prestridge in a headlock.

Although the prosecution had the defendant's brother under subpoena, Worley chose not to call him as a witness during his case.

Last week, Pacheco's attorney had the judge direct the brother to be in court today, as a potential witness for the defense.

Montgomery County prosecutors teach students lessons in thwarting Internet predators

Montgomery County State’s Attorney John J. McCarthy

March 9, 2008 7:12 PM

One hundred fifty pairs of eyes watch as Montgomery County State’s Attorney John J. McCarthy flashes a MySpace profile picture of a girl in her high school cheerleading uniform. She is smiling and the word “Vikings” is emblazoned across her chest.

She has only revealed her hometown on her Web page, but her photo broadcasts to the world she goes to a school with the Vikings as its mascot, McCarthy tells the crowd.

And that’s all a predator would need to know to find her.

The message hits close to home for this group, sixth through eighth graders at the St. Peter’s School in Olney. McCarthy explains how little time — less than 20 minutes — it can take someone to find out the full name, family members’ names, home address, phone number, likely school and other personal information about a girl whose valid e-mail address is available in her chat profile.

“The Internet is a wonderful tool, but it can get you into trouble with the most innocuous kinds of information,” McCarthy said.

Deborah A. Armstrong, chief of the Internet Crimes Against Children/Sex Offender Registry Unit, looked on from the back of the school’s multipurpose room. She said the prosecutor’s office does not aim to scare kids with their presentations about safe practices on the Internet, but does want to educate impressionable youths about the realities of being online.

“Some of this stuff is kind of scary, but I don’t think kids go home having bad dreams about it,” the senior assistant prosecutor said.

Prevention, not prosecution

The presentation, which McCarthy has presented a number of times in recent months at schools throughout the county, is based on audio-visual educational material from NetSmartz, an educational arm of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.

It aims to show kids how information about them can easily be obtained on the Internet with only a few clues to start with. It also recommends actions to take if they are uncomfortable with something — or someone — they encounter online.

Since McCarthy created the Internet prosecution unit a year ago this month, he has wanted it to be more than just an arm of the law.

“When I was campaigning for this job [in 2006], one of the things I kept hearing from parents was concerns about what their kids were exposed to on the Internet,” McCarthy said in an earlier interview.

“We can prosecute those cases when they come up, but we’re also really trying to incorporate in a much more active fashion some preventative measures that can be taken by the children and parents themselves.”

To that end, McCarthy has been hitting schools several times a month all over the county, from Germantown to Silver Spring, to give students a one-hour session on what could be lurking in cyberspace. Separate, “age-appropriate” presentations are designed for elementary, middle and high school students.

Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler has a similar, statewide program called “C.L.I.C.K.S.,” or Community Leadership in Cyber Knowledge and Safety, which offers classes designed for law enforcement, educators and community leaders.

McCarthy’s approach, however, entails a larger plan. Informally dubbed the “Internet Safety Project,” it includes a team of 15 to 20 members who hope to make Internet education a regular part of the county’s school curriculum by the next school year.

Drawn from the state’s attorney’s office, county school officials and the police department (which created its own cybercrimes unit in November 2006), team members have met for the past few months to outline an approach to the curriculum and work on designing education packages appropriate for each grade.

The materials will be provided by nonprofits NetSmartz and i-SAFE Inc., a federally funded Internet education foundation that also offers community-outreach tools for children and parents.

Elementary school counselors, who have completed the Internet safety training, would likely be the first distributors of the curriculum next year, said Shelley Johnson, county director of career and technology education and online learning and co-chair (with Armstrong) of the Internet Safety Project.

“This really caught their attention because they know the world the kids live in,” Johnson said. “And they said if nobody at home is talking about it, then kids especially need that kind of guidance at school.”

The teachers are still working on how the curriculum should be implemented in the higher grades, Johnson added.

‘It’s everywhere’

The committee also plans to reach out to parents by using real-life examples from Montgomery County.

“If that were told, it would just really hit home that it’s not just happening in New York City or Los Angeles, it’s everywhere,” Johnson said last week.

Nationally, one in seven people between the ages of 10 and 17 receive some kind of sexual solicitation online, according to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. About a third of the same age group had an unwanted exposure to sexual material, such as pictures of naked people.

Although similar statistics from the Maryland State Police are not readily available, McCarthy said last month that one in five minors in Montgomery County reported he or she had been solicited online for sex and one in 11 has been victimized by cyber bullying — when someone is harassed, threatened or embarrassed on the Web. A Pew Internet survey last summer reported one in three teens nationwide said they had experienced cyber bullying.

Cyber bullying made national news last fall when a Missouri teen committed suicide after a boy she met and knew only on the social networking site MySpace abruptly rejected her. The “boy,” it turned out, never actually existed — he was created by the mother of a friend who had, had a falling-out with the victim.

Cyber bullying is not illegal in most states, although the Maryland General Assembly is considering a bill this year that would require the State Board of Education to prohibit it and call for school officials to set new standards for investigating complaints and disciplining students.

While Armstrong and McCarthy call the Missouri case an extreme example, it points to why kids and teens should be educated about the realities of people who present false identities on the Web.


The office’s lessons about the Internet for elementary school children are simple: don’t put personal information (such as hometown, school and last name) where anyone can access it; and know where to turn for help when afraid.

At Stonegate Elementary School in Silver Spring last month, about 100 students watched an interactive NetSmartz video featuring two cartoon characters who talked about viruses, spam and “Follow You Fiona” — someone who uses a false identity online to befriend others.

“That may be the most important lesson you learn today,” McCarthy told them. “You never know who you’re dealing with on the Internet.”

For older students, the material is more pointed. The Olney students last month also watched a video about a girl who shared her e-mail password with her best friend. The friend then gave it away to the “cool” girls in school to get them to like her and, in turn, they used the e-mail account to send sexually implicit messages to boys at school.

During the question-and-answer session after the video, one student raised his hand to say someone had logged into his account with his password and then used it to “cuss people out” in online chat rooms.

“May I say, this is going to happen if you share your passwords,” McCarthy warned.

Fighting on all fronts

As she watched the presentation, Armstrong, who is the only county prosecutor in the Internet crimes unit, added she had just secured her first felony conviction for distributing pornography on the Internet. The offender, a Silver Spring man whose wife was expecting a baby, was caught distributing pornography to an Arizona woman in an attempt to get her to send him sexually explicit photos of her 11-year-old daughter.

The felony crime is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine. Sentencing is scheduled for this month.

Earlier in February, Armstrong testified before the House Judiciary Committee on a bill that would change the offense of possessing child pornography from a misdemeanor to a felony. If passed, it would place a mandatory minimum sentence of two years for the first conviction and five years for subsequent ones.

Current law holds two years as the maximum sentence for possession.

The reception from the committee was “tepid,” she said, and she expressed her frustration that legislation in this subject area had been introduced for nearly 10 years straight with seemingly no progress toward passage.

In another case Armstrong recently prosecuted, the defendant, a male in his 20s, pleaded guilty to 10 counts of possession but was not given any jail time.

“The defense attorney’s argument was that if the legislature thought it was an important enough crime, it would have made it a bigger penalty,” she said. “And that’s part of the problem … People who possess child pornography are [statistically] more likely to be offenders themselves and right now the penalty has no teeth. It’s on par with possession of marijuana.”

For now, the prosecutors just hope that efforts toward education can provide children more protection and help mitigate the damage.

“The Internet is like Halloween — everybody has a mask on,” said McCarthy. “We’re just trying to teach these kids in a very general way how to keep the lines of communication open between them and the people they trust.”