In a wide-ranging child pornography investigation that has ensnared dozens of defendants across the country, federal prosecutors have charged a St. Tammany Parish man with running two illegal websites that victimized hundreds of young boys and offered tutorials to more than 27,000 members on how to dupe minors into creating sexually explicit videos.
Jonathan Scott Johnson, 27, of Abita Springs, is accused of masterminding a “child exploitation enterprise” that involved some 2,000 pornographic videos, according to court records unsealed this week. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in New Orleans said Wednesday that federal prosecutors have charged 10 other people in the case, including a New Orleans man who is accused of filming a 14-year-old boy masturbating and sharing the footage online.
“This joint investigation has resulted in over 25 additional defendants being arrested and charged with various state and federal charges throughout the United States, and approximately 160 child victims have been identified and/or rescued by law enforcement officials,” said Anna Christman, a spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney Kenneth Polite Jr., in an email.
The case offers a disturbing glimpse at the expanding world of child pornography. Court filings describe a sophisticated network in which Johnson collected thousands of illicit videos and assumed fake female personas on social networking sites to entice and film underage boys. His websites provided tips to members on how to avoid police detection and, according to court records, offered tutorials “on ways to communicate with minor boys in order to coerce them into creating sexually explicit videos.”
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