Former School Employee Sentenced for Child Pornography Crime
ANCHORAGE, AK—United States Attorney Karen L. Loeffler announced today that Daniel Alan Brown, 34, of Anchorage, Alaska, was sentenced today by United States District Judge Sharon L. Gleason to 15 years in prison, to be followed by a lifetime period of supervised release, for distribution of child pornography in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2252(a)(2).
According to court documents and arguments made during today’s sentencing hearing, starting in 2006, the defendant began working as a substitute teacher for the Anchorage School District. In 2010, the defendant started working as a teacher’s assistant at Huffman Elementary.
After purchasing a computer in 2005 and starting work in the schools in 2006, the defendant began collecting images of child pornography online. In July 2014, the defendant began trading images with an undercover police detective in New Zealand. Based on a lead from the New Zealand Police Department, law enforcement obtained a search warrant for the defendant’s residence in November 2014.
The defendant’s computer was seized and searched. Located on the computer were more than 40,000 images and videos of child pornography. Many of these images and videos showed prepubescent males being sexually abused. Also located on the defendant’s computer were non-pornographic images of Anchorage-area children that he had recovered from various sources, to include publicly-available Facebook posts. In some instances, the defendant used these non-pornographic images as an avatar for file-sharing accounts through which he traded child pornography. At other times, the defendant posted these non-pornographic photographs on the file-sharing site and sought comments about the images from other traders of child pornography. These comments frequently included graphic descriptions of various sexual acts the defendant and others sought to perform on the children depicted in the pictures.
At sentencing, Judge Gleason read and considered victim impact statements from some of the children depicted in the pornographic images traded by the defendant. According to one victim, the defendant’s trading of his images continued the victim’s “shame…by spreading the pictures and videos [of his abuse] to hundreds of thousands of people on the Internet.” Another victim wrote “[i]f you are looking at me, or any other child for that matter, then you are hurting every one that you look at. Anyone who looks at those horrible pictures of me or other children are abusing us.”
Parents of some of the children depicted in the non-pornographic images possessed by the defendant also spoke to the court prior to sentencing. In those statements, victims addressed the impact the defendant’s conduct had on the minors shown in the photographs and their families, as well as the school at which he worked. According to one mother, their life “has been irrevocably changed because [the defendant] used his position to do things to children.” Other parents wrote about how they “failed” their children because they were unable to protect them from the defendant, and that the impact of the defendant’s violation of their trust is that they “question everyone’s motives…don’t relax…and live in a tense world wondering who else wants to bring harm to [their] children.” According to the school’s former principal, the defendant’s crimes and its impact on the school and local community were the most “emotional, personal, and devastating” thing he had experienced in nearly 30 years in public education.
Judge Gleason based her sentence on numerous factors, including the nature and circumstances of the defendant’s conduct and the defendant’s history and characteristics. Judge Gleason noted the emotional statements provided by the local parents, and reminded the defendant that the “horror in the lives of the victims of the [child pornographic] images the defendant possessed” was many times worse. Judge Gleason also remarked on the statement the defendant made to the court and his victims, noting that he focused almost the entirety of his statement on himself. Judge Gleason found the defendant to be someone “very self-absorbed and focused on his [own] satisfaction.” “[T]o gain gratification looking at pictures of children being tortured is not the type of thing someone with compassion and empathy would have,” said Judge Gleason.
This case was investigated and prosecuted by the FBI, the New Zealand Police Department, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Kyle Reardon.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorney’s Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, 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. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov, or contact the District of Alaska’s Project Safe Childhood Coordinator at (907) 271-5071.