MISSOULA – After a two and a half day jury trial, defendant Daniel Brown, 26, of Taylor, South Carolina, was convicted for his role in an international child pornography web-based bulletin board, which was targeted by state and federal investigators and prosecutors participating in Operation Moon Runner. The trial was presided over by the Honorable Dana L. Christensen in Missoula, Montana.
Five defendants previously pled guilty for their role in the conspiracy in October, 2014. Six additional defendants filed their notice to plead guilty in January, 2015.
According to court documents, the board was created in September, 2011 and specialized in the advertisement, distribution, and receipt of child pornography. The board was broken-up into subforums where members were required to post images that corresponded to specific child pornography studios. The rules of the board required members to posts images of minor females once every certain number of weeks. Failure to post images within the required time period resulted in suspension from the board. The board permitted members to leave comments and to request more images of child pornography from board members.
The investigation, referred to as Operation Moon Runner, is an ongoing cooperative effort between the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, FBI, Montana Department of Criminal Investigations, Helena and Polson Police Departments, Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, Montana Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, and the Northumbria Police Department in the United Kingdom.
Trial Attorney Maureen C. Cain of the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Cyndee L. Peterson of the District of Montana prosecuted the case.
This case was initiated under the Department of Justice’s Project Safe Childhood initiative which was launched in 2006 to combat the proliferation of technology-facilitated crimes involving the sexual exploitation of children. Through a network of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies and advocacy organizations, Project Safe Childhood attempts to protect children by investigating and prosecuting offenders involved in child sexual exploitation. It is implemented through partnerships including the Montana Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force. The ICAC Task Force Program was created to assist state and local law enforcement agencies by enhancing their investigative response to technology facilitated crimes against children.