Asheville, N.C. Man Sentenced To Nine Years For Possessing And Receiving Child Pornography From The Dark Web
ASHEVILLE, N.C. – Carl Jack Hall, 51, of Asheville, N.C. was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Martin Reidinger to 108 months in prison on charges of possession and receipt of child pornography, announced Andrew Murray, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. In addition to the prison term imposed, Judge Reidinger ordered Hall to serve a lifetime of supervised release and to register as a sex offender.
According to court documents, the prosecution of this case stems from the FBI’s investigation into “Playpen,” a sophisticated child pornography website that operated on the anonymous “TOR” network. Using the dark web, Playpen’s more than 150,000 total members, anonymously stored and shared with each other videos and images that depicted children being sexually abused. Court records show that the website also included discussion forums pertaining to the sexual exploitation of children, including tips for grooming children and avoiding detection by law enforcement.
Court documents show that, over the course of the investigation, the FBI identified a member of the website who went by the name “Amoura,” later determined to be Hall. In July 2015, law enforcement conducted a search warrant at Hall’s residence and seized his laptop. A forensic analysis of the laptop revealed that Hall possessed hundreds of images of children being sexually abused. A web browser for the TOR network was also located on the computer, and contained a bookmark for the Playpen website. Hall initially lied to an FBI agent about his knowledge of TOR, and denied any knowledge of child pornography or of the Playpen website on his device.
On January 19, 2018, a federal jury convicted Hall of possession and receipt of child pornography.
In making today’s announcement, U.S. Attorney Murray commended the work of the FBI and highlighted the success of this operation which to date has led to the arrest of at least 350 U.S.-based individuals nationwide, the prosecution of 25 producers of child pornography, and the prosecution of at least 51 alleged hands-on abusers. Also, 55 American children who were subjected to sexual abuse have been rescued.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Asheville prosecuted the case.
This case was brought 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. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and 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.justice.gov/psc.