ATLANTA - A local man was sentenced Thursday to 10 years in federal prison, to be followed by 10 years of supervised release, for receiving images and videos on his computer showing young children being sexually abused as part of a ring known as "Boylovers.net."
The case was investigated by special agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
"This prison sentence demonstrates that there are serious consequences for receiving images of innocent children being sexually exploited and traumatized," said Brock Nicholson, special agent in charge of ICE HSI in Atlanta. "Investigating these types of crimes is a high priority for ICE HSI. We will continue to be vigilant for those who cannot protect themselves."
Dale Hodges, 29, of Roswell, Ga., is also required to register as a sex offender upon his release from custody. He pleaded guilty to the charges on Feb. 4.
U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates for the Northern District of Georgia said, "The disturbing organization known as BLN specialized in a particularly brutal and criminal abuse of children. Finding the individual members who were feeding this organization has been critical in getting them out of the community and into prison. This defendant from Roswell, who was a tutor of children, will no longer live his secret and criminal life within the community."
During an international investigation into a global organization of pedophiles known as the "Boy Lovers Network" (BLN), ICE HSI special agents determined that Hodges, along with certain other individuals residing in the north Georgia area, were BLN members and collectors and distributors of child pornography.
Hodges received images of child pornography via the Internet and by trading child pornography with other BLN members. He distributed sexually explicit images of boys unknown to him that he found online, along with images of naked boys known to Hodges, taken inside his home with his own camera. At the time of his arrest and incarceration in November 2009, Hodges was tutoring children at the "Huntington Learning Center" in Alpharetta, Ga.
This investigation was conducted as part of Operation Predator, a nationwide ICE initiative to identify, investigate, and arrest those who prey on children, including human traffickers, international sex tourists, Internet pornographers, and foreign-national predators whose crimes make them deportable. ICE encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-347-2423. This hotline is staffed around the clock by investigators. Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jill Steinberg and Robert McBurney, Northern District of Georgia, prosecuted the case.