Northshore man pleads guilty to operation of massive child porn ring

Northshore man pleads guilty to operation of massive child porn ring

Northshore man pleads guilty to operation of massive child porn ring

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wwltv.com

Posted on March 27, 2014 at 4:43 PM

WWLTV.com
Email: webteam@wwltv.com | Twitter: @WWLTV

NEW ORLEANS, La. -- U.S. Attorney Kenneth Polite, Jr. announced Thursday that 27-year-old Jonathan Johnson pled guilty to operating a child exploitation enterprise, which lead to dozens of arrests across the country.

According to court documents, from 2012 through 2013, Johnson administered two child pornography websites identified as Website A and Website B out of his Abita Springs home in order to distribute images and videos depicting the sexual victimization of children.

Johnson's illegal websites had over 27,000 members located throughout the world.

“With at least 27,000 members worldwide, this criminal oversaw the largest child pornography network ever discovered in this agency’s history,” said HSI (Homeland Security Investigations) New Orleans Special Agent in Charge Raymond R. Parmer Jr. “Never before have so many minor victims been identified in the course of a single child exploitation investigation. Protecting children is one of HSI’s highest priorities and we will continue to investigate and seek prosecution of these dangerous criminals who exploit innocent victims and destroy lives for their own selfish desires.”

As the administrator of these websites, Johnson regulated membership in the websites and created two categories of website users: members and uploaders. He required members to register with a user name and password before they could download video files, comment on videos, or exchange private messages. Uploaders had the same privileges as members, but were also permitted to upload sexually explicit material directly to Johnson's websites.

Johnson's websites also included tutorials that provided guidance to members and uploaders on ways to communicate with underage boys, in order to coerce them into creating sexually explicit videos. The websites also provided instructions so members and uploaders could avoid detection from law enforcement.

Johnson frequently utilized and encouraged other members and uploaders to access popular social networking sites in order to search for and locate unsuspecting underage boys, for the purpose of having them create sexually explicit videos. He and other website members and uploaders, created fake female Internet personas in order to initiate online communications with young boys.

During the course of the investigation of Johnson, special agents with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service determined Johnson’s websites contained approximately 2,000 videos depicting the sexual exploitation of young boys.

Dubbed “Operation Roundtable,” the case against Johnson has resulted in ten additional individuals being charged by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New Orleans.

To date, five of those defendants have entered pleas of guilty to crimes involving the sexual exploitation of children.

In addition, Operation Roundtable has resulted in over twenty-five additional defendants being arrested and charged with various state and federal charges throughout the United States, and approximately 250 child victims have been identified and/or rescued by law enforcement officials.

“Today’s guilty plea represents a significant step in our continued efforts to dismantle a criminal enterprise that is responsible for the sexual victimization of our nation’s young people,” stated United States Attorney Polite. “Once again, I commend HSI and the Postal Service for being dedicated partners in Operation Roundtable. Together, we are committed to utilizing our collective resources to bring justice to both the victims and the perpetrators of these crimes. Our important investigation is on-going.”

Johnson will be sentenced on July 17, 2014 by U.S. District Judge Nannette Jolivette Brown, and has been in federal custody since his arrest on June 13.

Johnson is facing a mandatory minimum term of incarceration of twenty years to a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, and will also be required to register as a sex offender.

 

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