Four men have joined their two accomplices behind bars for tricking young girls into performing sex acts online so they could film them.
The six were charged in Michigan, USA, with 28 counts [PDF] of producing and viewing child abuse images, engaging in a child exploitation enterprise, conspiracy to access with intent to view child pornography, and enticement of a minor to engage in illegal sexual activity. Their combined sentences come to 171 years in prison, and most will face at least 20 years of supervision after that.
Between November 16, 2013 and March 10, 2016 the gang ran a sophisticated web ring to haunt internet forums that children use regularly. They would then lure each victim, one by one, into a private group chat session and take on various roles to achieve their ends.
According to federal court documents filed earlier this year, each gang member took on the part of either hunters, talkers, loopers or watchers. The hunter would find a promising young girl and encourage her to join a private chatroom, while talkers would engage with her and reassure their victim.
After a suitable period, the talkers would encourage a game of dare, and the looper would play a video of a teenage boy engaging in sexual acts to encourage the victim to also strip off and perform for the group. All of the gang present would cap – slang for record – the victim's actions to disk. The watchers would keep an eye on all the participants of the chatroom to make sure no one outside the group had joined. These highly compromising recordings would then be shared with others.
On November 16, 2015, one of the gang members was arrested by the police and charged with possession of child pornography. He quickly folded under questioning and helped the cops identify Kik channels the gang was using to coordinate their actions. After the ring's public IP addresses were obtained and traced back to their ISPs, via subpoenas, the gang members were cuffed and all pled guilty.
On Friday, Michigan District Judge Judith Levy sentenced Justin Fuller, 37, of Modesto, California, to 35 years in prison, with co-conspirator John Garrison, 52, of Glenarm, Illinois, receiving the same sentence.
Thomas Dougherty, 54, of Vallejo, California, received 26 years for his crimes while associate Virgil Napier, 54, of Waterford, Michigan, was sentenced to 20 years in the Big House. The two other gang members, Brandon Henneberg, 31, of Diller, Nebraska, and Dantly Nicart, 39, a citizen of the Philippines residing in Las Vegas, Nevada, received 35 years and 20 years in prison respectively. ®