NEW ORLEANS — An Abita Springs man has been charged with operating a pair of child pornography websites that offered tutorials to 27,000 followers on coaxing young boys into producing sexually explicit videos.
Federal prosecutors said Jonathan Johnson, 27, was the architect of a digital child exploitation enterprise that routinely preyed upon young boys, producing and distributing pornographic videos of minors and coaching others on strategies to coerce underage boys into participating in sexual acts.
The grand jury charged Johnson with distribution and receipt of child pornography.
The Times-Picayune reports (http://bit.ly/1bqcqKp) Johnson's case was unsealed this week, along with a superseding indictment that suggests he might be cooperating with prosecutors. He faces arraignment Monday.
Johnson's federal public defender, Samuel Scillitani, could not be reached for comment Thursday. If convicted, he faces a minimum of 20 years to life in prison.
According to newly unsealed court records, a grand jury accused Johnson of frequently encouraging viewers of the websites to search for, locate and entice young boys into creating sexually explicit videos, by tapping into social networking sites and sometimes impersonating females online to initiate conversation. Investigators said they discovered more than 2,000 explicit images of young boys on the sites and have so far identified about 160 of them.
Johnson's sites let some members upload and share sexually explicit material, according to court documents. He provided instructions so members and "uploaders" — those authorized to create and share content — could circumvent detection by law enforcement, prosecutors said. The videos were uploaded to the sites without the boys' knowledge.
The U.S. Attorney's Office said the case against Johnson has led to 25 arrests.
Ten defendants are being prosecuted by federal prosecutors in New Orleans: Daniel Nolan Devor, 39, of Brunswick, Ga.; John C. Foster, 44, of Tipp City, Ohio; Aung Gaw, 25, of Fremont, Calif.; Sean Jabbar, 32, of Minneapolis; Christopher Jamieson, 30, of Douglasville, Ga.; Andrew J. Korpal, 29, of Granger, Ind.; Nicholas Saine, 27, of Seattle; Stanley Zdon, 27, of Tuckerton, N.J.; Christopher Schwabb, 25, of New Orleans; and Vittorio Francesco Gonzalez-Castillo, 26, of Tucson, Ariz.
Devor and Foster face charges of conspiracy to produce child pornography, distribution of child pornography and receipt of materials involving the sexual exploitation of minors. Schwab was charged with production of child pornography, distribution of child pornography and receipt of child pornography.
Gonzalez-Castillo and Zdon were charged with conspiracy to produce child pornography.
The others were charged with receipt of child pornography.