Independence Man Indicted on Charges Related to Producing Child Pornography
Project Safe Childhood
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that an Independence, Mo., man has been indicted on charges related to producing child pornography by secretly recording videos of unsuspecting victims in restrooms and changing rooms, as well as downloading child pornography over the Internet.
Nicholas A. Braile, 25, of Independence, was charged in a five-count indictment returned under seal by a federal grand jury on Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014. That indictment was unsealed and made public following Braile’s arrest and initial court appearance. Braile remains in federal custody pending the court’s ruling on a motion for detention. A detention hearing was held on Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014, and the court has taken the government’s motion under advisement.
The federal indictment charges Braile with two counts of attempting to produce child pornography, two counts of receiving child pornography over the Internet and one count of possessing child pornography.
Braile was arrested at a Walmart store in Independence on May 15, 2014, when he was caught taking an “up skirt” photo of a female customer with his cell phone.
A forensic examination of Braile’s cell phone and computer located approximately 2,600 images of child pornography, according to court documents, as well as 138 video files of child pornography or child erotica on Braile’s computer. Investigators also located video files 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.
According to court documents, the store manager at Harbor Freight Tools identified photographs of two teenage victims that had been located on a computer at Braile’s home as store employees. The photographs were taken from videos that depicted the teens using the restroom and changing clothes at Harbor Freight Tools. Detectives also 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.
One of the teen employees, identified in the indictment as “Jane Doe #1,” identified a photo of herself that was taken in the store restroom. The second teen was 18 years old at the time the videos were produced and is not included as a victim in the indictment. In addition, the defendant filmed customers who used the restroom, including adults and small children.
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, who is identified in the indictment as “Jane Doe #2.” The video depicts Braile asking Jane Doe #2 for assistance and then, because of his close proximity to the victim, Braile is able to maneuver his phone into a position to film up the victim’s 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.
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.
Dickinson cautioned that the charges contained in this indictment are simply accusations, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charges must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Teresa A. Moore. It was investigated by the Independence, Mo., Police Department.
Project Safe ChildhoodThis 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."