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Dysart Willis

North Carolina federal judge sentences man to 20 years in child porn case

As regular readers of our Raleigh criminal law blog know, we have several times written about the sprawling Playpen child pornography case that stretches across the nation. A federal judge here in North Carolina recently sentenced a co-administrator of the site to 20 years in prison.

The Indiana man is the first of three Playpen administrators who have pleaded guilty to be sentenced. A Kentucky man and a Florida man await sentencing on related child porn charges.

More than 200 Playpen-related prosecutions have taken place since the FBI seized and then operated the site for nearly two weeks back in 2015. During those 13 days, the FBI reportedly installed malware on users' computers in order to track and identify them.

The operation was controversial, with a number of judges across the nation ruling that the single warrant used was invalid in multiple jurisdictions.

The Department of Justice said the man recently sentenced in North Carolina admitted to serving as the Playpen's co-administrator. The site dedicated to sexual exploitation of children had more than 150,000 members who could access it through Tor, a browser that guards anonymity.

It was widely reported in 2015 that more than 1,000 IP addresses were uncovered by the FBI during the Playpen investigation. It is possible that more arrests on porn-related charges will be forthcoming.

Anyone facing federal or state allegations of child porn possession or distribution knows the severity of the situation. An experienced Raleigh criminal defense attorney can help protect your rights and your freedom.