CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The administrator of an online group chat dedicated to the trafficking of child pornography has been sentenced to 22 years in prison, announced Dena J. King, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. Dakota Ray Maddy, 33, of Lenoir, N.C., will also be placed under a lifetime of supervised release after he is released from prison and will be required to register as a sex offender.
Michael C. Scherck, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Charlotte Division, joins U.S. Attorney King in making today’s announcement.
“As the overseer of this vile group chat that existed for the sole purpose of trading videos and images depicting the sexual abuse of children, Maddy played an integral role in perpetuating the sexual exploitation of children online. I commend the FBI agents and federal prosecutors who worked together to bring this monster to justice,” said U.S. Attorney King.
According to filed documents and court proceedings, in June 2019, an FBI agent working in an undercover capacity accessed an online group chat dedicated to trading child pornography. Over the course of the investigation, the FBI identified Maddy as the group’s administrator. As the administrator, court documents show that Maddy was in charge of adding and deleting members from the group chat and required members to actively share child pornography or they would be removed. In addition to his administrative duties, Maddy shared child pornography in the group chat, and posted requests for others to send him child pornography. Forensic review of these files established that Maddy distributed a substantial amount of child pornography.
On June 14, 2022, Maddy pleaded guilty to advertising videos and images of children being sexually abused. He is currently in federal custody and will be transferred to the custody of the federal Bureau of Prisons upon designation of a federal facility.
In making today’s announcement, U.S. Attorney King commended the FBI for their investigation of the case.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark T. Odulio of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte prosecuted the case.
This case is 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 U.S. 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.