Ohio Man Sentenced to Life in Prison for Engaging in Child Exploitation Enterprise
A Hamilton, Ohio, man was sentenced today to life in prison for engaging in a child exploitation enterprise, 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.
Jason Gmoser, 36, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Colin S. Bruce of the Central District of Illinois, who also sentenced him to 30 years and 20 years in prison to be served concurrent to the life sentence for conspiring to advertise and conspiring to distribute child pornography, respectively, and ordered him to serve a lifetime term of supervised release. Gmoser was convicted by a federal jury in Urbana, Illinois, on Feb. 12, 2016.
Gmoser was arrested on Oct. 16, 2014, following a court-authorized search of his home in Hamilton. Forensic examination of computers and devices seized pursuant to that search found that he was in possession of millions of files depicting the sexual exploitation of children. Evidence at trial established that Gmoser acted as a member and co-administrator 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. According to sentencing documents, 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 and included numerous child pornography producers who were actively abusing children. 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 network and elaborate file encryption, according to the sentencing papers.
The FBI’s Springfield Field Office and the FBI’s Violent Crimes Against Children Section, 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.