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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Louisiana

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, February 12, 2015

Louisiana Man Sentenced to 21 Years in Prison for Operating International Child Exploitation Enterprise

U.S. Attorney Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. announced that JONATHAN JOHNSON, age 28, of Abita Springs was sentenced today for Operating a Child Exploitation Enterprise, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2252A(g).

JOHNSON was sentenced to 21 years incarceration by U.S. District Judge Nannette Jolivette Brown.  Upon release from prison, JOHNSON will be placed on a term of supervised release for 10 years and he will also be required to register as a sex offender pursuant to the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act.  JOHNSON has been in federal custody since his arrest in June 2013.        

According to court documents, from 2012 through 2013, JOHNSON administered two child pornography websites identified as Website A and Website B out of his Abita Springs, home in order to distribute images and videos depicting the sexual victimization of children.  JOHNSON’s illegal websites had over 27,000 members located throughout the world.  As the administrator of these websites, JOHNSON regulated membership in the websites and created two categories of website users:  members and uploaders.  JOHNSON required members to register with a user name and password before they could download video files, comment on videos, or exchange private messages.  Uploaders had the same privileges as members, but were also permitted to upload sexually explicit material directly to JOHNSON’s websites.  JOHNSON’s websites also included tutorials that provided guidance to members and uploaders on ways to communicate with minor boys in order to coerce them into creating sexually explicit videos and JOHNSON’s websites also provided instructions so members and uploaders could avoid detection from law enforcement.  JOHNSON frequently utilized and encouraged other members and uploaders to access popular social networking sites in order to search for and locate unsuspecting minor boys for the purpose of having them create sexually explicit videos.  JOHNSON and other website members and uploaders created fake female Internet personas in order to initiate online communications with young boys.

During the course of the investigation of JOHNSON, special agents with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service determined JOHNSON’s websites contained approximately 2,000 videos depicting the sexual exploitation of young boys.  Dubbed “Operation Roundtable,” the case against JOHNSON has resulted in ten additional individuals being charged by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New Orleans.  To date, all ten of those defendants have entered pleas of guilty to crimes involving the sexual exploitation of children.

Operation Roundtable has resulted in over twenty-five additional defendants being arrested and charged with various state and federal charges throughout the United States and Canada and approximately 250 child victims have been identified and/or rescued by law enforcement officials.

“Today’s sentencing represents a significant step in our continued efforts to dismantle a criminal enterprise that is responsible for the sexual victimization of our nation’s young people,” stated United States Attorney Polite.  “Once again, I commend HSI and the Postal Service for being dedicated partners in Operation Roundtable.  Together, we are committed to utilizing our collective resources to bring justice to both the victims and the perpetrators of these crimes.”

“As the ringleader of a pack of sadistic child predators, this defendant is responsible for the sexual exploitation of hundreds of young victims, whose documented abuse was subsequently distributed to thousands of perverted criminals,” said Special Agent in Charge Raymond R. Parmer, Jr., ICE Homeland Security Investigations New Orleans. “There is simply no room in our society for such monsters, and I applaud the HSI special agents who put him in handcuffs and the federal prosecutors who put him behind bars. In this case, justice has been served.”

“Postal Inspectors have fought the scourge of child pornography since the 1900s, and we will never hesitate to pursue those who use the mail to exploit children,” said Acting Inspector in Charge Daniel Brubaker.  We investigate a wide variety of crimes in our mission to protect the integrity of the U.S. Mail, but sexual exploitation of children is particularly heinous.  When these predators use a combination of mail and the Internet to exploit our children we will ensure no aspect of their crimes escape justice.”

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 United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (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.projectsafechildhood.gov.

U.S. Attorney Polite praised the work of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security-Homeland Security Investigations and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service in investigating this matter.  Fraud Unit Chief and Project Safe Childhood Coordinator, Assistant U. S. Attorney Brian M. Klebba is in charge of the prosecution.

Updated February 12, 2015