U.S. District Judge Virginia A. Phillips in Los Angeles, sentenced Jonathon Sudduth of Springfield, Ill., to 22 years in prison and lifetime supervised release for conspiracy to advertise child pornography. This was announced by Assistant Director in Charge Steve Martinez of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office, U.S. Attorney André Birotte Jr. for the Central District of California and Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division on Monday, March 5, 2012.
In March 2011, 22 year old Sudduth pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to advertise child pornography. This time the sentencing was the result of an international investigation into the “Lost Boy” online bulletin board. The Lost Boy bulletin board was shut down approximately three years ago by coalition of international law enforcement agencies in conjunction with Federal authorities. In United States, sixteen named defendants have been charged for their roles in this case as a result of the investigation. One defendant died in the custody where as the rest of 15 defendants pleaded guilty or have been found guilty after a trial.
Law enforcement authorities discovered the Lost Boy bulletin board after receiving information from Eurojust, the judicial cooperation arm of the European Union as per the to court documents and proceedings. U.S. law enforcement was provided by Eurojust with leads from Italian and Norwegian authorities. These leads indicated that an Italian national was being communicated by North Hollywood, Calif., man about child pornography and how to engage in child sex tourism in Romania. FBI executed search warrants in result of the information they got from Europe. This led to the discovery of the Lost Boy network. Lost Boy had 35 members out of whom 16 were U.S. nationals as revealed by the further investigation. Other members of the network were located in countries around the world, including United Kingdom, New Zealand, Brazil, Belgium, France, Germany and the Canada.
The Lost Boy bulletin board was established to provide a forum to trade child pornography and was dedicated to men who have a sexual interest in young boys as per the court documents and proceedings state. New members had a thorough vetting process to join Lost Boy. They had to post child pornography to join the board and once accepted they had to continue posting child pornography to remain in a good standing and not to be removed from the board. Using of screen names to mask identities and encrypting computer data were some of the techniques that the Lost Boy members advised each other in order to evade detection by law enforcement, as per the court documents.
In United States, the law enforcement authorities arrested 16 Lost Boy members as well as approximately six more men who have been charged with child molestation through the Lost Boy investigation and related investigations. Twenty seven domestic victims of child abuse, some of whom were portrayed in images posted to the Lost Boy bulletin board were also identified as a result of this investigation.
Child molestation suspects were identified in New Zealand, Europe and South America by the Brazilian Federal Police, European law enforcement and other agencies. One suspect in France, three in Romania and another in Brazil have been charged, and other offenders have been convicted in United Kingdom and the Norway. Dozens of child victims located in Romania, Norway, Brazil and other nations have been identified by Law enforcement efforts.
U.S. Postal and the FBI, in conjunction with the Los Angeles-based Sexual Assault Felony Enforcement (SAFE) Team led the investigation into the Lost Boy bulletin board. Eurojust along with the High Technology Investigative Unit of the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS) provided invaluable assistance during the investigation.
CEOS Trial Attorney Andrew McCormack and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joey L. Blanch Yvonne Garcia are prosecuting this case.
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