WASHINGTON – David Dean, 43, of Peoria, Ariz., was sentenced today to 180 monthsin prison and a lifetime of supervised release for engaging in a child exploitation enterprise, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney David J. Hickton for the Western District of Pennsylvania and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director John Morton.
“The members of this criminal enterprise committed the most unthinkable of crimes – they trafficked in chilling images of children and infants being brutally, sexually abused. And, they used a social networking website to distribute these images so that they could reach as many other like-minded individuals as they could,” said Assistant Attorney General Breuer. “Our children, who are the most vulnerable and innocent in our society, deserve every measure of protection we can give them. As this prosecution shows, we will use every tool we have to attack and dismantle these illegal child exploitation networks.”
“ This prosecution also illustrates the ripe environment for child predators that exists though the internet. The defendants in this case found kinship online, validating their shared desire to engage in sex with children, and to seek sexual gratification through sharing horrific and degrading images of children,” said U.S. Attorney Hickton. “We must respond to this threat with the full force of federal law enforcement and its many partners across agencies, jurisdictions, state lines, and national borders. I am committed to this effort, and we will not stop until we eradicate this evil.”
“Possession of child pornography is not a victimless crime,” said ICE Director Morton. “Those who engage in this criminal behavior should be forewarned that ICE, along with our law enforcement partners, will use every tool at our disposal to end the sexual exploitation of our children and keep them safe wherever they live.”
On June 17, 2010, Dean pleaded guilty before U.S. District Court Judge Arthur A. Schwab in Pittsburgh to one count of engaging in a child exploitation enterprise. According to court documents and proceedings, Dean and others distributed images and videos of children being sexually abused to other members of an international group that had restricted membership and was formed on a social networking website. Members of the group distributed to one another thousands of sexually explicit images and videos of children, many of which graphically depicted prepubescent, male children, including some infants, being sexually abused and sometimes sodomized or subjected to bondage.
Seven co-defendants have previously pleaded guilty and been sentenced to prison as a result of this investigation.
This case was investigated by ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations and the High Technology Investigative Unit of the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS). Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig W. Haller and CEOS Trial Attorney Andrew McCormack prosecuted the case.
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 CEOS, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov .