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Press Release

Ketchikan man sentenced to 13 years and 4 months for running child pornography distribution group chat

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Alaska

JUNEAU, Alaska – A Ketchikan man was sentenced today to 13 years and 4 months in prison for distributing child pornography through a group messaging platform.

According to court documents, Walter William Onstad, 46, was an administrator of a messaging group known as “Anything Goes.” The chat was used exclusively to exchange child pornography, with some of the visuals depicting the sexual abuse of pre-pubescent minors.

Court documents say investigators with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children received a tip in April 2022 that an individual, later identified as Onstad, sent at least 12 images and videos of child pornography to another user through the messaging platform.

An investigation revealed that Onstad solicited images depicting child sexual abuse from those wanting to enter the “Anything Goes” group chat. The defendant would personally verify the images, upload the images to the group chat and grant access to people who provided them.

As the investigation continued, the defendants cell phone was taken by law enforcement and over 300 images and 40 videos of child sexual abuse were in his possession on the phone. The defendant admitted to being responsible for the possession and distribution of over 600 images. Some of the images he possessed and distributed included the sexual abuse of minors as young as infants and toddlers.

“Mr. Onstad contributed to the victimization of children by running a child sexual abuse material distribution chat and was responsible for sharing hundreds of images of innocent children,” said U.S. Attorney S. Lane Tucker for the District of Alaska. “We will continue to work with law enforcement to relentlessly pursue, arrest and prosecute individuals who traffic images of child sexual abuse and hold them responsible for the incalculable damage they’ve caused.”

“Innocent children are revictimized each time CSAM is distributed,” said Special Agent in Charge Rebecca Day of the FBI Anchorage Field Office. “As an administrator of a CSAM distribution operation, Walter Onstad fueled a market that preys on our most vulnerable. No matter how they commit their crimes, those who sexually exploit children will be pursued and held accountable by the FBI and law enforcement partners, for justice and the safety of our children.”

The Juneau Resident Agency of the FBI Anchorage Field Office, with assistance from the Ketchikan Police Department and North Carolina’s Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jack Schmidt 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 https://www.justice.gov/psc.

Contact

Reagan Zimmerman

Public Affairs Officer

reagan.zimmerman@usdoj.gov

Updated June 5, 2024

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