BOSTON - An Acton, Mass., man was charged today in federal court on the receipt of child pornography following an investigation by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
Brad Warner, 33, was arrested and charged in a criminal complaint with receipt of child pornography. The criminal complaint alleges that in March 2009, Warner knowingly received visual depictions of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct, and knowingly possessed visual depictions of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct.
According to the criminal complaint, Warner, who is a co-founder of HammelFit, a fitness and education program designed for children under the age of seven, exchanged numerous emails with other persons located outside of Massachusetts.
It is alleged that Robert John Mueller of Sterling Heights, Mich., received e-mails from an e-mail address, email@example.com with user name Charles Dodgson, containing conversations about sexual interests in little girls and their sexual desires for little girls from the ages of approximately three to 10 years old. The user of the e-mail account indicated to Mueller that he had a particular sexual interest in an approximately seven year old girl. It was later determined that the user of the email account firstname.lastname@example.org belonged to Warner. It is alleged in addition to Warner's e-mails, Mueller also communicated through over 100 e-mails with John J. Belloli, Jr. of Dearborn Heights, Mich., during which time they had multiple conversations describing sexual attraction of minor female including minors as young as three years old. It is further alleged that on March 14, 2009, Belloli e-mailed Warner a video file that depicted a prepubescent female and an adult male engaged in sexual acts.
According to the complaint, on two occasions, the person using the name Charles Dodgson and using the email address email@example.com, sent Belloli multiple cell phone videos of a prepubescent females along with texts, one of which depicted a prepubescent female getting changed.
"The ICE Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) aggressively uses its investigative authorities to protect our communities from those who seek to sexually exploit the most vulnerable members of our society - our children," said Special Agent in Charge of ICE HSI in Boston, Bruce M. Foucart. "ICE HSI will continue to aggressively pursue and hold accountable individuals involved in this vile behavior who mistakenly believe the Internet shields them from detection."
"Law enforcement has no greater responsibility than ensuring the protection of our children," said U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts, Carmen M. Ortiz. "The rising prevalence of the production, collection and exchange of images of children being sexually abused, and the use of technology to facilitate the sexual abuse of children presents a heightened danger that we cannot ignore."
Warner was arrested early this morning and appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert B. Collings. Both Mueller and Belloli are awaiting trial in Michigan.
If convicted on these charges, Warner faces a mandatory minimum sentence of five years and a maximum sentence of up to 20 years incarceration; to be followed a maximum term of lifetime supervised release and a $250,000 fine.
U.S. Attorney Ortiz and Special Agent in Charge Foucart made the announcement today. Also assisting in the investigation were local police departments and the Massachusetts State Police. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Nadine Pellegrini, Chief of Ortiz's Major Crimes Unit and Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Yoon, also of the Major Crimes Unit.
This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide ICE initiative to protect children from sexual predators, including those who travel overseas for sex with minors, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders, and child sex traffickers. Since Operation Predator was launched in July 2003, ICE agents have arrested more than 12,800 individuals.
ICE encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE. 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.