Eleven Men Sentenced to Prison in Connection with International Child Exploitation Enterprise
WASHINGTON—Eleven men have been sentenced to federal prison for their roles in an international child pornography network operated online, which was targeted by state and federal investigators and prosecutors participating in Operation Kingdom Conqueror.
Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Michael W. Cotter of the District of Montana and Special Agent in Charge Mary Rook of the FBI’s Salt Lake City Division made the announcement.
According to court documents, in November 2009, an early participant in the conspiracy designed and created an online bulletin board that allowed members to exchange images, including child pornography. As the conspiracy progressed, additional members contributed to the design and operations of the board. Between Nov. 6, 2009, and March 19, 2012, members of the conspiracy used the online bulletin board to share pictures and videos of children engaged in sexually explicit conduct. During that same time period, the participants agreed to use the online bulletin board to solicit additional images of child pornography, which they would then share and broadcast on the Internet. Thirteen defendants have been charged and convicted for their participation in this child pornography network.
The following defendants pleaded guilty in April 2014 to conspiracy to advertise child pornography and were sentenced by U.S. District Judge Donald W. Molloy of the District of Montana:
- Tony Bronson, 53, of Gary, Indiana, was sentenced to serve 224 months on Oct. 28, 2014.
- Charles Crosby, 43, of Trenton, New Jersey, was sentenced to serve 210 months in prison on Oct. 23, 2014.
- Steve Humiston, 57, of Tacoma, Washington, was sentenced to serve 210 months in prison and ordered to pay a $5,000 fine on Oct. 23, 2014.
- John Johnson, 58, of Locust Grove, Virginia, was sentenced to serve 180 months in prison on Oct. 22, 2014.
- Robert Krise, 66, of Gaithersburg, Maryland, was sentenced to serve 180 months in prison on Oct. 22, 2014.
- Scott Long, 53, of Portland, Oregon, was sentenced to serve 200 months in prison on Oct. 21, 2014.
- Ian Nosek, 42, of Charlottesville, Virginia, was sentenced to serve 216 months in prison on Oct. 23, 2014.
- Phillip Morris, 42, of Jeffersonville, Indiana, was sentenced to serve 216 months in prison on Oct. 22, 2014.
- Joseph Purificato, 23, of Mount Vernon, Missouri, was sentenced to serve 180 months in prison on Oct. 28, 2014.
- Paul Wencewicz, 48, of Polson, Montana, was sentenced to serve 200 months in prison on Oct. 21, 2014.
- Jeffrey Woolley, 53, of Nicholasville, Kentucky, was sentenced to serve 180 months in prison and ordered to pay a $5000 fine on Oct. 28, 2014.
All of the defendants were ordered to forfeit their computers and storage devices. Purificato received a 10-year term of supervised release following his prison sentence. All other defendants received lifetime terms of supervised release. All defendants are required to pay $29,859 restitution.
Two additional defendants, Joshua Peterson, 45, of Prescott, Arizona, and Steven Grovo, 35, of Shirley, Massachusetts, were found guilty of participating in a child exploitation enterprise and a conspiracy to advertise child pornography on Oct. 9, 2014. Both men are scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 22, 2015, in Missoula, Montana.
The investigation, referred to as Operation Kingdom Conqueror, is an ongoing cooperative effort between the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, FBI, Montana Department of Criminal Investigations, Helena and Polson Police Departments, Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, Montana Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, and the States of Jersey Police Department, Isle of Jersey.
Trial Attorney Maureen C. Cain of the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Cyndee L. Peterson of the District of Montana prosecuted the case.
This case was initiated under the Department of Justice’s Project Safe Childhood initiative which was launched in 2006 to combat the proliferation of technology-facilitated crimes involving the sexual exploitation of children. Through a network of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies and advocacy organizations, Project Safe Childhood attempts to protect children by investigating and prosecuting offenders involved in child sexual exploitation. It is implemented through partnerships including the Montana Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force. The ICAC Task Force Program was created to assist state and local law enforcement agencies by enhancing their investigative response to technology facilitated crimes against children.