U.S. Attorney's Office
Southern District of Indiana
(317) 226-6333
June 22, 2015

Three Men Sentenced in Child Pornography Cases

INDIANAPOLIS—United States Attorney Josh Minkler announced today the sentencing of three men for child pornography stemming from cases in the Southern District of Indiana.

  • John D. Gries, 48, Bayshore, New York
  • James McCullars, 56, Huntsville, Alabama
  • Brian K Chandler 36, Kokomo, Indiana

McCullars was sentenced to life in prison, must pay a $50,000 fine to the victims and had his house forfeited; Gries was sentenced to 30 years, both by U.S. District Court Judge Sarah Evans Barker. Chandler was sentenced to 45 years in federal prison by U.S. District Judge William T. Lawrence.

“These three men have made a career out of sexually abusing and exploiting children,” said Minkler. “The consequence for Mr. McCullars is that he will never get out of prison alive and never again exploit children again. If Mr. Gries and Mr. Chandler survive their prison sentences, they will hopefully be too old to exploit children.”

According to evidence presented at trial, Gries and McCullars operated their conspiracy for over 11 years from 2000 to 2012, without being detected by law enforcement. They operated various members-only online chat rooms dedicated to the advertisement, distribution, receipt and possession of child pornography. The trial evidence, as well as admissions by other defendants prosecuted in connection with “Operation Rounder,” showed that McCullars, Gries and other members of the conspiracy used these chat rooms and a number of online servers to expand their personal collections of materials depicting the exploitation of children, and sought to evade law enforcement through the use of sophisticated data encryption software.

Operation Rounder has rescued nearly 100 children around the world who have been identified as victims of abuse. Other defendants who have been convicted in connection with this investigation include:

  • John Edwards, 62, of Indianapolis, sentenced to 17.5 years;
  • Thomas Vaughn, 45, of Anderson, Indiana, sentenced to 11 years;
  • John Rex Powell, 43, of Fort Myers, Florida, sentenced to 30 years;
  • Donald Printup, 36, of Niagara Falls, New York, sentenced to 14 years;
  • Michael Fredette, 46, of Waterford, New York, sentenced to 27 years;
  • Robert Guillen, 43, of Wesley Chapel, Florida, sentenced to 14 years;
  • David Bebetu, 51, of Agoura Hills, California, sentenced to 12.5 years;
  • Stephen Harvey Dault, 48, of McKinney, Texas, sentenced to 17 years; and
  • Rick Ricardo Leon, 53, of Arlington, Virginia, sentenced to 12.5 years.

This case was investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Indiana State Police with assistance from the Indiana Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and the Department of Justice’s High Technology Investigative Unit, as a part of Project Safe Childhood. This case was prosecuted by Trial Attorney Amy Larson of the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section and Senior Litigation Counsel Steven D. DeBrota of the Southern District of Indiana.

In an unrelated case, Brian K. Chandler was convicted of five counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, five counts of distribution of child pornography and registered sex offender charges.

Between July 20, 2013, and August 2, 2013, Chandler enticed a minor boy which he had occasional custody of, to engage in sexually explicit conduct, then recorded that activity on his cell phone for later distribution. Chandler produced seven videos of the molestation, and was required to register as a sex offender during the period of his criminal activity.

It was also determined through forensic technology that Chandler possessed hundreds of other pornographic images and distributed them to others in his network to view. Chandler was convicted of possession of child pornography in Howard County Circuit Court in 2004 and 2011. He was required to register as a sex offender from his convictions and did not.

The Chandler case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Indiana State Police and the Kokomo Police Department. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Tiffany J. McCormick.

Led by U.S. Attorneys’ 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.

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