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Press Release

Utah Man Admits to Using Kik to Distribute Child Pornography

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Virginia
Brent Murie Texted with Undercover Officer about Incest, Child Exploitation

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – A Utah man, who communicated via the instant messaging application Kik with an undercover employee working for the I-81 Human Trafficking and Crimes Against Child Task Force, pled guilty today to a pair of federal crimes.

Brent Walter Murie, 67, pled guilty today to two counts of distribution of child pornography. Each count calls for a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison and requires Murie to register as a convicted sex offender upon his release from prison as well as pay restitution to his victims.

“Our children’s world is online more than ever before and we, as a law enforcement community, must rise to the challenge of keeping them from becoming victims of sexual abusers,” United States Attorney Christopher R. Kavanaugh said today. “My Office will continue to work with our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners to protect the most vulnerable among us, our children, from sexual exploitation. I am thankful to the FBI and all those who worked to bring this matter to justice.”

“Brent Walter Murie admitted today to sexually exploiting children by distributing and exchanging their images online,” said FBI Richmond Special Agent in Charge Stanley M. Meador. “I want to thank the I-81 Human Trafficking and Crimes Against Child Task Force and our partners for their work on this case. We will never stop fighting to protect children and making sure their abusers are held accountable.”

According to court documents, an online covert employee (OCE) used a social media account on Kik to target individuals engaged in child exploitation activities. The OCE setup an account posing as an adult who had access to a 9-year-old daughter and 11-year-old son.

On September 9, 2021, an account linked to Murie began messaging the OCE account through a public chat room about incestuous family relationships. The chat between the two lasted from September 2021 through March 2022.

Topics of their conversations ranged from work, family, used cars, and the weather. However, Murie constantly returned the conversation back to ways the OCE could molest his fictional 9-year-old daughter. Murie repeatedly provided the OCE instructions on grooming and molestation, such as drugging the daughter or lowering her inhibitions by showing her child pornography.

In addition, Murie offered tips on how to conceal sexual abuse, such as using tickle fights as an excuse to sexually abuse a minor child.

During the conversations, Murie also spontaneously sent the OCE child pornography, including videos of infants and prepubescent children engaged in sexual activity with adults.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and was part of an undercover operation by the I-81 Human Trafficking and Crimes Against Children Task Force (I-81 HTTF).  The I-81 HTTF is a collaborative effort of law enforcement and community partners focused on identifying instances of human trafficking along the I-81 corridor in the northern Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland, prosecuting those responsible, and providing assistance to the victims impacted by these crimes.  The I-81 HTTF includes law enforcement officers from the counties of Frederick, Clarke, and Shenandoah as well as the cities and towns of Front Royal, Hagerstown, and Frederick, Maryland, and Lord Fairfax Community College. 

Assistant U.S. Attorney Heather L. Carlton is prosecuting the case.

Updated November 29, 2022

Project Safe Childhood