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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, February 7, 2014

Massachusetts Man Arrested For On-line Activity With Albany County Child

ALBANY, NEW YORK – United States Attorney Richard S. Hartunian and Special Agent in Charge Andrew W. Vale of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Albany Division, and Colonie New York Police Chief Steven Heider announced the arrest today of a Massachusetts man charged with enticing a 10 year old Albany County child to produce sexually explicit videos of himself and to then send those videos to him by email.

A criminal complaint unsealed in United States District Court this afternoon alleges that Brian Belanger, 21, of Worcester, Massachusetts, using the nickname “zombieshadow,” met the child on-line through Playstation 3. While talking through the game’s headset feature, Belanger told the child that someone was trying to kill Belanger, and that the child could help him by providing sexually explicit videos of himself that Belanger could in turn give to the other person. It is alleged that Belanger directed the child what to do in the videos, and that over the course of approximately three months the child emailed Belanger numerous times, attaching video files to the emails that depict the child engaged in sexually explicit conduct.1

Law enforcement was alerted on January 25, 2014, when the child’s father found the emails and videos on the child’s iPad. The investigation culminated with Belanger’s arrest today at his Worcester, Massachusetts residence. He made his initial appearance this afternoon in United States District Court in Albany before United States Magistrate Judge Hon. Randolph F. Treece, and was ordered detained pending a detention hearing scheduled for 2PM, Monday February 10, 2014. Belanger faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 15 years imprisonment, with a maximum penalty of 30 years, potential fines of up to $250,000, and a required term supervised release of at least 5 years, and up to life. A conviction would also require Belanger to register as a sex offender. Members of the community in the Worcester, Massachusetts area who have concerns or information regarding this case should call (508)-792-0214. Those in the Albany, New York area with information or concerns should call either (518) 431-0247, or 1-(888) 539-4535.

The investigation and arrest of Belanger is the result of an investigation by the Colonie New York Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Albany Division, the New York State Police, the Worcester Massachusetts Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division 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, and 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.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Lisa Fletcher, Project Safe Childhood Coordinator for the Northern District of New York.

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1The charges are merely accusations and Belanger is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

Updated January 29, 2015