State, federal child porn investigation nabs 27
Posted October 27, 2011
Updated March 21, 2012
Raleigh, N.C. — A state and federal investigation into trafficking of sexually explicit photos and videos depicting children has resulted in 27 arrests – including an active-duty Marine, a schoolteacher, a fire captain and a dance instructor – over the past two months and more are expected, North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper said Thursday.
State Bureau of Investigation agents working with the federal Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force made the arrests over the past two months as part of Operation Spyglass.
Among those arrested were seven men in Wake County on charges of second-degree exploitation of a minor: Kyle Martin Inch, 26, on 11 counts; John David Herron, 30, on 20 counts; Jean Paul Berard, 31, on four counts; Edward Joseph O’Brien, 38, on one count; Jacob Moses Korn, 24, on 10 counts; and William Johnson Blankinship, age unavailable, on 10 counts.
Daniel Lawrence Taylor, 43, was arrested on four counts of indent liberties with a minor, crimes against nature, aiding and abetting and solicitation of a minor by computer.
Other arrests include:
- Chad Thomas Evans, 40, a captain with the Lumberton Fire Department, on nine counts of second-degree sexual exploitation of a minor in Robeson County
- Paul Stephen Pearsall, age unavailable, a school teacher in Sampson County, on three counts of second-degree sexual exploitation of a minor in Cumberland County
- Bruce Anthony Howard, age unavailable, a dance instructor, on 10 counts of second-degree child sexual exploitation and one count of first-degree child sexual exploitation in Franklin County
- Daniel Joseph Nilsson, 32, a Marine captain, on six counts of second-degree sexual exploitation of a minor in Pender County
Investigators also served 27 search warrants to seize computers containing hundreds of thousands of illegal photos and videos of abused children, some as young as age 3. Several other investigations are under way, with more searches and arrests expected.
"These criminals are exploiting innocent children and contributing to continued misery and abuse," Cooper said. “Crackdowns like this send a strong message that trading images of child sexual abuse is a crime and will not be tolerated in North Carolina.”
Undercover investigators use technology to identify people who download and share files that contain illegal child pornography, even when the people try to remain anonymous, he said.
Investigators don't yet know if images the suspects traded involved North Carolina children.
"It is really scary," said Cary police detective Jason Ice, who was among the undercover investigators working with the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. "These are the people we're trying to target and make sure they're not harming children."
In operations involving online sex predators, investigators like Ice often pose as children online.
Through ICAC, he can connect with investigators throughout the United States to share information about predators they interact with.
"We take a progressive approach to dealing with these types of people," he said.