Matthew Chase Keyes, 37, pleaded guilty in March to producing and distributing child pornography. He came to the attention of law enforcement authorities in April 2010 when the Toronto Police Service's (TPS) child exploitation section determined an individual using the online name "DREADH4SH" had made hundreds of images of child pornography available for download on a publicly available peer-to-peer file-sharing network.
Further investigation by the TPS revealed that the Internet protocol address used by "DREADH4SH" could be traced to the Pacific Northwest and investigators provided this information to agents with the Seattle ICE HSI office. Seattle ICE HSI agents used this information and were able to identify Keyes as the suspect.
In December 2010, ICE HSI agents executed a search warrant at Keyes's residence and seized a variety of digital equipment for forensic examination. He denied to agents that he had been involved in any hands-on molestation of children.
However, during a review of the deleted files on one of Keyes' video cameras, there were two scenes showing him molesting young boys. In one video, the child is asleep and in another, the child appears to be drugged.
Keyes' mother later identified one of the children as a boy who had visited her young grandson. ICE HSI agents notified the boy's parents and rescued him from future victimization by the defendant.
At the sentencing hearing before U.S. District Court Judge Ricardo S. Martinez, the parents of one young victim described the horror of learning their son had been molested in the home of a family they had trusted to keep him safe.
"I feel like I failed to protect my son from such a beast," the victim's father told the court.
"What kind of person harms a little child?" the victim's mother said. "I feel like he will harm more kids."
"This defendant repeatedly victimized innocent children through the manufacture and distribution of sexually explicit video and still images. A lengthy prison sentence sends a strong message that this abhorrent behavior will be met with a strong and decisive response," said Leigh Winchell, special agent in charge of HSI in Seattle. "We are grateful for the relationships we have with our international law enforcement partners who provided the lead in this case and resulted in the removal of this child predator from the community."
"We cannot restore the innocence and trust the defendant stole from his victims, but today's sentence acknowledges the harm of his acts and seeks to ensure he never hurts another child," said U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan.
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. 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.