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PRESS RELEASE: International Operation Concludes in Montana; Convicts 21 Defendants of Child Pornography-Related Crimes

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, January 7, 2016

International Operation Concludes in Montana; Convicts 21 Defendants of Child Pornography-Related Crimes

An international operation that led to the conviction of 21 defendants for child pornography-related crimes concluded today in the District of Montana. These defendants were involved in the sexual exploitation of children via two international online bulletin boards where members advertised, distributed, viewed and received images depicting child sexual exploitation.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Michael W. Cotter of the District of Montana, Special Agent in Charge Eric Barnhart of the FBI’s Salt Lake City Division, Special Agent in Charge David A. Thompson of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI) Denver Field Office and Division Administrator Bryan Lockerby of the Montana Division of Criminal Investigation made the announcement.

Operation Kingdom Conqueror began in 2011 when FBI agents and officers from the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICACTF) received a tip that ultimately led to the discovery of Kingdom of Future Dreams (KOFD), an online bulletin board operated by Paul Wencewicz, 49, of Polson, Montana, that members used to advertise and trade sexually explicit images of young girls. Between November 2009 and March 2012, Wencewicz and other members of the bulletin board sexually exploited hundreds of girls, both domestically and internationally, by trading images and videos of them.

The KOFD bulletin board was housed on a server in the Isle of Jersey. Through cooperation with local police and British authorities, the United States obtained the boards’ data, allowing U.S. federal agents to identify 13 defendants in the United States in addition to Wencewicz and conduct searches in New Jersey, Maryland, Missouri, Indiana, Virginia, Washington, Massachusetts, Kentucky, Arizona, Texas and California. This investigation revealed that eight of the 14 KOFD defendants were also members of a second child exploitation bulletin board called the Dark Moon, which involved a highly complex encryption scheme. After gaining access to the board in April 2013, agents identified additional members.

Today, the final defendant, Shawnston Beaudoin, 31, of Kennesaw, Georgia, was sentenced to 210 months in prison and lifetime supervised release. Beaudoin pleaded guilty to conspiracy to advertise child pornography on Sept. 30, 2015. In connection with his plea, Beaudoin admitted that he became an active member of Dark Moon in October 2012 and remained an advanced member of the board until April 2013. During that time, he posted hyperlinks and preview images of child exploitation to the advanced member section of the board. Beaudoin also requested child pornography from other members and responded to and commented on other members’ postings. Chief U.S. District Court Judge Dana Christensen of the District of Montana presided over the sentencing.

In addition to Beaudoin, the following individuals have been convicted of conspiracy to advertise child pornography and sentenced as follows:

Paul Wencewicz, 49, of Polson, was sentenced to 220 months in prison and lifetime supervised release and was ordered to pay $29,859 in restitution;
Scott Long, 55, of Portland, Oregon, was sentenced to 200 months in prison and lifetime supervised release and was ordered to pay $29,859 in restitution;
Steve Humiston, 58, of Tacoma, Washington, was sentenced to 210 months in prison and lifetime supervised release and was ordered to pay a $5,000 fine and $29,859 in restitution;
Phillip Morris, 43, of Jeffersonville, Indiana, was sentenced to 216 months in prison and lifetime supervised release and was ordered to pay $29,859 in restitution;
Tony Bronson, 55, of Gary, Indiana, was sentenced to 224 months in prison and 10 years supervised release and was ordered to pay $29,859 in restitution;
Jeffrey Woolley, 55, of Nicholasville, Kentucky, was sentenced to 180 months in prison and lifetime supervised release and was ordered to pay $29,859 in restitution;
Charles Crosby, 45, of Trenton, New Jersey, was sentenced to 210 months in prison and lifetime supervised release and was ordered to pay $29,859 in restitution;
John Johnson, 59, of Locust Grove, Virginia, was sentenced to 180 months in prison and lifetime supervised release and was ordered to pay $29,859 in restitution;
Joseph Purificato, 25, of Mount Vernon, Missouri, was sentenced to 180 months in prison and 10 years supervised release and was ordered to pay $29,859 in restitution;
Ian Nosek, 44, of Charlottesville, Virginia, was sentenced to 216 months in prison and lifetime supervised release and was ordered to pay $29,859 in restitution;
Robert Krise, 67, of Gaithersburg, Maryland, was sentenced to 180 months in prison and lifetime supervised release and was ordered to pay $29,859 in restitution;
John Merchberger III, 48, of Dayton, Maine, was sentenced to 220 months in prison and lifetime supervised release and was ordered to pay a $5,000 fine;
Daniel Brown, 27, of Taylors, South Carolina, was sentenced to 180 months in prison and lifetime supervised release;
Marc Edoria, 24, of Sacramento, California, was sentenced to 180 months in prison and 10 years supervised release;
Tony Gustafson, 49, of Hastings, Nebraska, was sentenced to 200 months in prison and lifetime supervised release;
Ryan Hatfield, 26, of Mount Washington, Kentucky, was sentenced to 180 months in prison and 10 years supervised release; and
David Woods, 37, of Corfu, New York, was sentenced to 180 months in prison and 15 years supervised release.
The following defendants were convicted at trial of participating in a child exploitation enterprise and conspiracy to advertise child pornography and were sentenced as follows:

Joshua Petersen, 45, of Prescott, Arizona, was sentenced to 220 months in prison and lifetime supervised release and was ordered to pay $29,859 restitution; and
Steven Grovo, 35, of Shirley, Massachusetts, was sentenced to 220 months in prison and lifetime supervised release and was ordered to pay $29,859 in restitution.
Richard Pitts, 28, of Cathedral City, California, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute child pornography and was sentenced to 84 months in prison and 15 years of supervised release.

“The predators on these illicit websites glorified the sexual assault of little girls and encouraged each other to share images of this terrible abuse,” said Assistant Attorney General Caldwell. “For the victim children, this trauma lasts the rest of their lives. Thanks to the great partnership among federal, state and local law enforcement, these criminals will be punished for their vile crimes and prevented from harming other children.”

“This collaboration of federal and state law enforcement agencies demonstrates the power of the ICACTF and the concerted strength we can bring to bear against these types of child predators when we combine forces,” said U.S. Attorney Cotter. “These operations succeeded in bringing to justice a group of dangerous and sadistic individuals, some of whom had committed prior sex offenses against children. As a result of the operations, one threat against Montana’s children—and children everywhere—has been dismantled. We will continue this successful collaboration and our efforts to protect our children and our communities into the future.”

The FBI, ICE-HSI, the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), the Montana Department of Criminal Investigations, the Helena, Montana, Police Department and Montana ICACTF investigated the case. CEOS Trial Attorney Maureen C. Cain and Assistant U.S. Attorney Cyndee L. Peterson of the District of Montana prosecuted the case. The Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs also provided assistance.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and CEOS, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims.

About FREDERICA CADE

Most of the information you will see comes from some Federal/state Government documents or Federal/State Governm Agency. -----------------------------------------------The fellow that can only see a week ahead is always the popular fellow, for he is looking with the crowd. But the one that can see years ahead, he has a telescope but he can't make anybody believe that he has it. ~~~~Will Rogers __The woman who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The woman who walks alone is likely to find herself in places no one has ever been before.~ Albert Einstein ~"I never work better than when I am inspired by anger; for when I am angry, I can write, pray, and preach well, for then my whole temperament is quickened, my understandingsharpen​ed, and all mundane vexations and temptations depart.” ~Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. _________________________________________________________________________________________ ~"The bosom of America is open to receive not only the Opulent and respectable Stranger, but the oppressed and persecuted of all Nations and Religions; whom we shall welcome to a participation of all our rights and privileges, if by decency and propriety of conduct they appear to merit the enjoyment".~___________________________________ George Washington, Address to the Members of the Volunteer Association of Ireland, December 2, 1783 Fredericacade@gmail.com

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