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Press Release

Deputy Attorney General Recognizes Two Assistant United States Attorneys At Annual Director's Awards Ceremony

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of North Carolina

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Assistant United States Attorneys (AUSAs) Cortney Randall and Benjamin Bain-Creed of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Western District of North Carolina were among the 162 members of the Department of Justice recognized by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, and Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys (EOUSA) Director James Crowell, IV at the 34th Director’s Awards Ceremony today in Washington D.C.

The Western District of North Carolina was one of 35 districts represented at the ceremony which was held in the Great Hall at the Robert F. Kennedy Department of Justice Building.

In addressing the award recipients and guests, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said, “Today’s honorees earned the esteem of their colleagues.  But most importantly, they earned the gratitude of our fellow citizens — the people whose communities you made safer, whose lives you improved, and whose trust you rewarded. Today, we pause to honor and recognize a small portion of your work.”

In making today’s announcement R. Andrew Murray, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina said, “Assistant United States Attorneys Cortney Randall and Benjamin Bain-Creed were recognized for their exemplary work with the investigation and prosecution of individuals involved in criminal conduct that can only be described as horrific. As a result of the trial team’s skills and tenacity, the perpetrators received substantial prison sentences, which will prevent them from further harming children.  This prestigious award undoubtedly speaks to Cortney and Ben’s competence as lawyers and their dedication as public servants to furthering our mission of delivering justice and protecting the people of this District.”

AUSAs Randall and Bain-Creed, along with Department of Justice Trial Attorney Reginald Jones and FBI Special Agent Dan Alfin, received the Director’s Award for Superior Performance by a Litigative Team for their work on United States v. Steven W. Chase, et al (5:15-cr-15). The case involved the investigation and prosecution of administrators and users of “Playpen,” a highly sophisticated, global enterprise dedicated to the sexual exploitation of children, organized via a members-only website that operated on the dark web.  Playpen’s administrators and more than 150,000 other members spent more than 4,000,000 hours in just over six months writing and viewing tens of thousands of postings relating to sexual abuse of children as young as infants and toddlers. 

Following guilty pleas by co-defendants Michael Fluckiger of Portland, Indiana and David Lynn Browning, of Wooten, Kentucky, a federal jury in the Western District of North Carolina convicted lead site administrator, Steven W. Chase, of Naples, Florida, of engaging in a child exploitation enterprise and related charges.  The court sentenced Fluckiger and Browning to 20 years in prison, and Chase to 30 years in prison.  All three defendants were also ordered by the Court to serve a lifetime of supervised release.  The Court further ordered Chase to forfeit his Naples residence from which he administered the site, and ordered all defendants to pay restitution to their victims.

To date, the investigation has resulted in 350 U.S. arrests and 548 international arrests, the prosecution of 51 hands-on child sex abusers and 25 producers of child pornography, and the identification or rescue of 55 American children and 296 sexually abused children around the world.  This investigation and prosecution pioneered investigative work into the dark web that left an impact worldwide.

AUSA Randall received her undergraduate degree in Psychology from Davidson College, and her JD from Georgetown University Law Center. 

AUSA Bain-Creed received his Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Southern Mississippi, and his JD from the University of Florida.  He also holds a Master’s Degree in English from the University of Florida. 

EOUSA provides oversight, general executive assistance, and direction to the 94 United States Attorneys’ offices around the country. For more information on EOUSA and its mission, visit







Updated June 15, 2018