What could this Police officer be sentenced to, In largest U.S. prosecution of online child exploitation?
Published August 3rd, 2011 12:57 pm Comments 14Share
Richard Chandler / "John Doe #9"
An ex-Kingsport police officer — who resigned nearly two weeks ago following his arrest on a sealed federal indictment out of Louisiana — has been connected to an international, online network accused of sexually exploiting children.
A Wednesday morning press conference at the Department of Justice in Washington D.C. announced 71 individuals have been charged in the case — the largest ever U.S. prosecution of an online international network engaged in sexual abuse of children.
Court records involving the investigation, dubbed Operation Delego by federal authorities, were released Wednesday in the Western District of Louisiana's Shreveport Court. According to an indictment listing Chandler and 20 additional individuals, the suspects advertised and distributed child pornography on the "Dreamboard" message board from January of 2008 through the end of August, 2010.
Users were required to post child pornography in order to become a member, then continue to post images to remain in "good standing" and avoid removal. Rules for "Dreamboard" were reportedly printed in English, Russian, Japanese and Spanish, listing specifics for pictures posted; including no girls over the age of 13, children should be visibly "distressed."
Court records identify former KPD patrolman Richard Chandler as "John Doe #9" and by the Dreamboard username "almeda." The affidavit also lists child pornography files he's accused of advertising and offering to distribute; "2010 sweetbabys in bed - hot show!!" in April of 2010, "Mule 2009" on June 7, 2010, followed by "Various Sets" three days later.
Chandler is charged with conspiracy to advertise the distribution of child pornography and conspiracy to distribute child pornography. Following his arrest by U.S. Marshals on Jull 22 Chandler was jailed at the Washington County Detention Center in Jonesborough. On Tuesday jail staff reported he was no longer held at the facility, adding they could not comment on where he had been transported as he is a federal inmate.
During Wednesday's press conference in Washington, Attorney General Eric Holder touted Operation Delego as the largest ever U.S. prosecution of an online, international child exploitation network. Holder said "Dreamboard" was created and operated specifically to promote pedophilia and encourage sexual abuse of young children.
"Utilizing sophisticated techniques in an attempt to avoid law enforcement detection, Dreamboard’s members allegedly traded graphic images and videos of adults molesting young children – often violently; and created a massive private library of images of child sexual abuse," Holder said.
Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer added that, even for online child abuse forums, Dreamboard was "extreme."
"To evade detection by law enforcement, all Dreamboard members were allegedly required to employ sophisticated online techniques to make themselves anonymous, such as using proxy servers and encryption programs," Breuer said.
"In short, Dreamboard was a living horror."
Chandler is one of at least two people in the public eye to be charged in the investigation. A July 22 story from reporter Nicholas Persac of The Advertiser in Lafayette, La., identifies a Roanoke High School football coach as the first indicted individual to be publicly identified. The Roanoke Times adds Wheeler was hired as the head football coach of Parry McCluer High School in June.
Dreamboard’s creators and members lived all over the world, according to the Department of Justice, and were united by a "disturbing belief" that sexually abusing children should not be criminalized. Federal agencies reported assistance from law enforcement across the world, including Canada, Denmark, Ecuador, France, Germany, Hungary, Kenya, the Netherlands, Philippines, Qatar, Serbia, Sweden and Switzerland.
Officials say 19 suspects across five continents and 13 countries have been arrested outside the United States.
"Operation Delego represents the largest prosecution in history of individuals who participated in an online child exploitation enterprise conceived and operated for the sole purpose of promoting child sexual abuse, disseminating child pornography, and evading law enforcement," Holder said. "Already, 13 of those charged have pleaded guilty – and four individuals have received sentences of 20-30 years in prison."
The Department of Justice reports 13 of the 52 individuals arrested have pleaded guilty, while 20 of the 72 charged individuals remain at large. They are known only by their online i