Colorado and Illinois Men Sentenced to Prison for Engaging in Child Exploitation Enterprise
Three Others Previously Sentenced to Prison for Illicit Activity on Child Pornography Website Based on Tor Network
Two members and administrators of a highly sophisticated, global enterprise dedicated to the sexual exploitation of children were sentenced to prison, announced Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney James A. Lewis of the Central District of Illinois and Special Agent in Charge Sean Cox of the FBI’s Springfield, Illinois, Division.
Brian W. Davis, 51, of Farmer City, Illinois, was sentenced to 360 months in prison for engaging in a child exploitation enterprise and two counts of production of child pornography, along with a lifetime term of supervised release. David Delalio, 38, of Longmont, Colorado, was sentenced to 210 months in prison for engaging in a child exploitation enterprise and a 15-year term of supervised release. U.S. District Judge Colin S. Bruce of the Central District of Illinois imposed the sentences yesterday and also ordered Davis to pay $164,000 in restitution and a $55,000 fine. Davis pleaded guilty on July 15, 2015 and has remained in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service since his arrest on Oct. 8, 2014. Delalio pleaded guilty on July 20, 2015.
“Child predators seek out online forums on anonymous networks, like the one that Davis and Delalio operated, so that they can commit vile crimes without getting caught,” said Assistant Attorney General Caldwell. “But the sentencing of the leaders of this forum—along with the recent sentencings of three of their co-defendants—should give other online predators pause. While identifying and apprehending these criminals is difficult, it is not impossible, and we will use every legal authority we have to root out these predators and protect children from harm.”
“We must protect our children, if we wish to have a decent society," said U.S. Attorney Lewis. “So we must investigate and prosecute those who use our children for sexual enjoyment, and those who facilitate this abuse.”
According to the government’s sentencing memoranda, Davis and Delalio acted as members and co-administrators of a highly-sophisticated global enterprise dedicated to the sexual exploitation of children, organized via a members-only website that operated on the Tor anonymity network, through which he and others posted thousands of messages containing images of sexual exploitation involving pre-pubescent children. As of July 2014, the website hosted nearly 30,000 members, who were required to share illicit child pornography images in order to gain and keep membership, including numerous child pornography producers who were actively abusing children, according to the government’s memorandum. In addition, the sentencing memo shows that site members employed advanced technological means in order to undermine law enforcement’s attempts to identify them, including the use of a hidden service on the Tor anonymity network and elaborate file encryption.
The sentencing memos also state that Davis was the co-administrator of an exclusive “Producers” section of the website, where he acted as a gatekeeper and actively recruited and advised other members on how to sexually abuse minors and produce child pornography for the website. Davis’s contributions to the website and his own produced materials focused predominantly on a sexual interest in infants and toddlers. Davis also sexually assaulted and produced child pornography involving numerous minors who were entrusted to his care while he was employed by a child care facility in Champaign County, Illinois.
Delalio and Davis were the fourth and fifth members, respectively, to be sentenced for their involvement in the Tor-network based enterprise. On July 15, 2016, Jason Gmoser was sentenced to serve life in prison for engaging in a child exploitation enterprise. Gmoser was also sentenced to 30 years and 20 years to be served concurrent to the life sentence for conspiring to advertise and conspiring to distribute child pornography, respectively. On Sept. 2, 2016, Dakota Martin was sentenced to serve 20 years in prison to be followed by 25 years of supervised release for engaging in a child exploitation enterprise and production of child pornography. On March 14, 2016, Andrew Hoff was sentenced to serve 17.5 years in prison to be followed by 20 years of supervised release for engaging in a child exploitation enterprise.
The FBI’s Springfield Field Office and Violent Crimes Against Children Section’s Major Case Coordination Unit and Digital Analysis and Research Center led the investigation of this case. Acting Assistant Deputy Chief Keith Becker and Trial Attorney Elly Peirson of the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS) 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 via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.