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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Missouri

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Independence Man Pleads Guilty to Child Porn, Faces 15 Years in Prison

Secretly Took Cell Phone Videos of Victims in Dressing Rooms, Restrooms

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that an Independence, Mo., man pleaded guilty in federal court today to attempting to produce child pornography by secretly recording videos of unsuspecting victims in restrooms and changing rooms in various businesses at Independence Center and elsewhere.

 

Nicholas A. Braile, 25, of Independence, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Sarah W. Hays to two counts of attempting to produce child pornography.

 

Braile was arrested at a Walmart store in Independence on May 15, 2014, when a Walmart security guard caught him taking an “up skirt” photo of a female customer with his cell phone. Law enforcement officers arrested Braile and obtained search warrants for his cell phone and residence, where they seized a desktop computer and a laptop computer.

 

Investigators located video files on the desktop computer of women and girls changing in store dressing rooms, videos taken in the restroom at Braile’s work place (Harbor Freight Tools in Independence) and “up skirt” video files from several businesses at Independence Center. All of the businesses involved in the investigation cooperated fully with law enforcement officers.

 

The store manager at Harbor Freight Tools identified photographs of two teenage victims as store employees. The photographs were taken from videos that depicted the teens using the restroom and changing clothes at Harbor Freight Tools. Braile also filmed customers who used the restroom, including adults and small children. Detectives observed the restroom where the videos had been produced. There was a small section of the ceiling where the ceiling tile was missing. This restroom was next to a janitor closet. Located in the ceiling of the janitor closet was a paint roller, without the brush, that was positioned over the hole in the ceiling tile in the restroom. Detectives surmised that the paint roller was used to hold Braile’s cell phone over the hole in the ceiling tile so that he could film the teens in the restroom without their knowledge.

 

Detectives determined that a victim in one of the “up-skirt” videos located on Braile’s computer worked at a store in Independence Center. The store manager identified the 16-year-old victim. The video depicts Braile asking the victim for assistance and then, because of his close proximity to her, Braile is able to maneuver his phone into a position to film up the victim’s skirt.

 

Braile’s cell phone contained several “up skirt” and dressing room videos from dates shortly prior to his arrest. In several videos, Braile followed females around stores until he was able to get his phone under their skirt. In one video he looked under a dressing room stall and moved to another dressing room to get closer to a female victim. In another instance a prepubescent girl was standing next to her father when Braile took a video up her skirt.

 

The forensic examination of Braile’s computers and phone also located approximately 468 photographs he had taken of prepubescent female children. These images were taken at Braile’s work place and at Independence Center. The images depict children shopping with their parents. There is no nudity in the images but they focus on the buttocks and crotch area of the children.

 

The forensic examiner also located child pornography that had been downloaded from the Internet. The collection, most of which was located on a laptop computer, included 138 video files of child pornography. There were also so-called “modeling images” of young girls approximately 9 to 14 years of age.

 

Under the terms of today’s plea agreement, Braile will be sentenced to 15 years in federal prison without parole. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.

 

Under Department of Justice guidelines, the attempted production of child pornography is ordinarily charged in cases that involve surreptitious recordings. The statutory penalties for producing child pornography are the same as the penalties for attempting to produce child pornography.

 

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Teresa A. Moore. It was investigated by the Independence, Mo., Police Department.

 

Project Safe Childhood

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc . For more information about Internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab "resources."

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Updated February 18, 2015