WASHINGTON – An Ohio man was sentenced today in Riverside, Calif., to 35 years in prison and lifetime supervised release for his participation in an online child pornography bulletin board, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney André Birotte Jr. of the Central District of California and Assistant Director in Charge Steve Martinez of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office.
Billy Wade Carroll of Dayton, Ohio, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Virginia A. Phillips. In October 2011, Carroll, 51, was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to advertise, solicit, transport, distribute, receive and possess child pornography and one count of committing a child pornography offense while being required to register as a sex offender in Ohio.
Today’s sentencing is the result of an international investigation into the “Lost Boy” online bulletin board. The Lost Boy bulletin board, according to court documents and proceedings, was dedicated to men who have a sexual interest in young boys and was established to provide a forum to trade child pornography.
Evidence presented at trial established that from at least September 2007 until January 2009, Carroll was an active member of the bulletin board and made more than 100 posts. He supplied images of child pornography for other members to download and also made requests on the board seeking out particular images to help supplement his child pornography collection.
Federal authorities, working in conjunction with a coalition of international law enforcement agencies, shut down the Lost Boy bulletin board approximately three years ago. As a result of the investigation, 16 named defendants were charged in the United States and arrested for their roles in the bulletin board. To date, 15 defendants have pleaded guilty or have been convicted at trial, and one defendant died in custody. Approximately six more men have been charged with child molestation as a result of the investigation. The investigation also led to the identification of 27 domestic victims of child abuse, some of whom were portrayed in images posted to the Lost Boy bulletin board.
According to court documents and proceedings, law enforcement authorities discovered the Lost Boy bulletin board after receiving information from Eurojust, the judicial cooperation arm of the European Union. Eurojust provided U.S. law enforcement with leads obtained from Norwegian and Italian authorities indicating that a North Hollywood, Calif., man was communicating with an Italian national about child pornography and how to engage in child sex tourism in Romania. Acting on the information from Europe, the FBI executed search warrants that led to the discovery of the Lost Boy network. Further investigation revealed that Lost Boy had 35 members, 16 of whom were U.S. nationals. Other members of the network were located in countries around the world, including Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
According to court documents, Lost Boy had a thorough vetting process for new members, who were required to post child pornography to join the organization. Once accepted, members were required to continue posting child pornography to remain in good standing and to avoid removal from the board. According to court documents, Lost Boy members advised one another on techniques to evade detection by law enforcement, which included using screen names to mask identities and encrypting computer data.
International law enforcement efforts involving European law enforcement, the Brazilian Federal Police and other agencies have identified child molestation suspects in South America, Europe and New Zealand. Three suspects in Romania, one in France and another in Brazil have been charged, and offenders have been convicted in Norway and the United Kingdom. Law enforcement have also identified dozens of child victims located in Norway, Romania, Brazil and other nations.
The investigation into the Lost Boy bulletin board was led by the FBI and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, in conjunction with the Los Angeles-based Sexual Assault Felony Enforcement (SAFE) Team. The High Technology Investigative Unit of the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS) in the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, along with Eurojust, have provided invaluable assistance during the investigation.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joey L. Blanch and Yvonne Garcia of the Central District of California and CEOS Trial Attorney Andrew McCormack.