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Posted August 19, 2013 | comments Leave a comment

Winchester man convicted in child porn case with 19 victims

By Joe Beck

A Winchester man has pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to eight pornography-related counts, including enticing minors into sexually explicit conduct and possessing, producing and distributing child pornography.

Brian Patrick Aronhalt's crimes included 19 victims, all minors, according to a news release issued by U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy.

"Mr. Aronhalt admitted that he used deception to repeatedly abuse children," Heaphy said. "His case serves as a grim reminder for parents to monitor what their children are doing online. Those of us who work in law enforcement will continue to pursue and prosecute predators like Mr. Aronhalt. We won't be successful, however, unless parents acknowledge the threat and take steps to help their children stay safe online."

Aronhalt, 32, pleaded guilty on Thursday. He faces a sentence range of 15 years to a life imprisonment for his crimes.

The FBI, DC Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section of the U.S. Justice Department built the case against Aronhalt.

A statement of facts signed by Aronhalt describes how he posed as a girl online and used Skype and other video chat software programs and websites to entice each victim into committing sex acts in exchange for sexually explicit images of the girl.

"While these minor boys engaged in sexually explicit conduct on screen, the defendant used video recording software such as Camtasia to capture the images as video files that could be viewed at later times," according to the statement of facts.

The statement of facts lists the ages of the boys as appearing to be between 11 and 15 years old and says the crimes were committed on four dates in late July 2012.

The statement of facts calls the crimes part of a web cam scheme in which Aronhalt received coaching from at least one other person "as part of a conspiracy to produce child pornography."

The statement of facts describes a search of Aronhalt's Winchester home on Sept. 7.

"At the time of entry, the defendant was sleeping in his bed," according to the statement of facts. "There was a laptop computer on a table beside the bed. There was also a desktop computer in the room. A preview of at least one of the computers revealed the presence of child pornography, Gigatribe, and video-capturing software. The defendant admitted to investigators he was a "BL" or "boy lover" and that the computers in his bedroom were his."

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com

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