FRESNO, Calif. — An Idaho man pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court Monday to receiving and distributing child pornography, following a far-reaching investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), with assistance from the Idaho State Police and the Bannock County Sheriff's Office.
According to court documents, Allen Trent Carter, 53, of McCammon, Idaho, was identified during the course of an investigation into his son, Bradley Vaine, 27, of Fresno. Court documents allege Vaine and Carter exchanged numerous images of child pornography and engaged in multiple Facebook "chat" sessions where they discussed the sexual abuse of children. Vaine, according to court documents, is also being federally prosecuted for child pornography violations.
HSI special agents executed a federal search warrant at Carter's residence in Idaho, where he admitted exchanging child pornography images with Vaine in August and October 2012. In his plea agreement, Carter acknowledged his offense involved more than 600 images of minors being sexually abused, including some images showing violence or sadistic or masochistic conduct. Carter also admitted he had engaged in a pattern of sexual abuse or exploitation of one or more minors.
"The fight against child pornography is not just about explicit images on a computer screen, it involves the real-life sexual abuse and exploitation of helpless children," said Mike Prado, resident agent in charge of HSI Fresno. "This case, which resulted in the rescue of a 7-year-old autistic child from Fresno, is a credit to tireless federal and local law enforcement cooperation in California and Idaho – all of us banding together to stop this horrific and destructive activity."
Carter, who has been in federal custody since his arrest in Idaho Jan. 8, will remain detained after being deemed a flight risk and danger to the community. He is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 13, 2014, by U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. O'Neill. The plea agreement contemplates a sentence of 20 years in prison, to be followed by a lifetime term of supervised release. The charges against Vaine are pending.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a Department of Justice initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse, and Operation Predator, a nationwide HSI initiative to protect children from sexual predators, including Internet child pornographers.
Under Operation Predator, HSI seeks 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. HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-347-2423 or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators.
Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-843-5678.
HSI is a founding member and current chair of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.