WASHINGTON AND PENSACOLA, Fla. – Johnathan Mosman, 47 of Waterbury, Conn., today became the fifth defendant to plead guilty for his involvement in a vast global child pornography trafficking enterprise, Acting Assistant Attorney General Matthew Friedrich of the Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Florida Thomas F. Kirwin and FBI Executive Assistant Director J. Stephen Tidwell announced.
Mosman was one of 14 alleged members of the enterprise who were charged in a 40-count superseding indictment on March 19, 2008. He pleaded guilty today to four counts relating to his criminal activities as a member of the group: engaging in a child exploitation enterprise; conspiracy to advertise, transport, ship, receive and possess child pornography; advertising child pornography; and receiving child pornography.
Mosman admitted to participating in a highly sophisticated and well-organized criminal enterprise whose purpose was to proliferate child sex abuse images to its membership during a two year period. According to Mosman’s guilty plea, members of the illegal organization used Internet newsgroups - large file-sharing networks where text, software, pictures and videos can be traded and shared - to traffic in illegal images and videos depicting pre-pubescent children, including toddlers, engaged in various sexual and sadistic acts. Group members used sophisticated encryption methods to avoid detection and traded more than 400,000 images and videos of child sexual abuse before their networks were dismantled by law enforcement. The charges were developed after law enforcement infiltrated the group in August 2006.
Mosman faces a minimum prison sentence of 20 years and a maximum of life in prison in addition to statutory fines. He will be sentenced in 2009.
Trial for the remaining defendants is scheduled to begin on Jan. 5, 2009, in Pensacola, Fla., before Senior U.S. District Judge Lacey A. Collier. The remaining defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), 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.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney David Goldberg of the Northern District of Florida and Trial Attorney LisaMarie Freitas of the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section. The case is being investigated by the FBI and the Queensland, Australia, Police Service, with the assistance of the Bundeskriminalamt (BKA) Child Pornography Unit in Germany, the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre in the United Kingdom and the Toronto, Canada, Police Department.