Largest child pornography website busted—four men sentenced, including one Ontario man
Waverly D. Crenshaw, Chief U.S. District Judge of the Middle District of Tennessee, has charged four men with significant prison sentences for their connection with and operation of a “sophisticated” child pornography and exploitation ring operating off a Tor-network-based website.
Tor, short for The Onion Router, is a browser which gives users near-complete anonymity and the ability to access the dark web. The browser utilizes a network of internationally based Tor servers and provides anonymity by randomly bouncing your internet traffic between the various servers, further encrypting your activity each step of the way. The result is an almost untraceable digital footprint. Your activity may be seen, but no one will know where it came from.
Tor is the most common browser used when accessing the dark web, a completely unregulated version of the internet infamous for its hosting of all sorts of illegal activities, including drug trafficking, snuff films, terrorist propaganda, and child pornography.
The two put together make tracking criminals, who often implement additional safety precautions, incredibly difficult. Given the scope of the child exploitation network these four individuals were operating, which had over 72,000 registered users and 56,000 posts in 2016, it is extremely fortunate that law enforcement officers were able to find the founders and arrest them.
The sentences are as follows:
Patrick D. Falte, 29, of Franklin, Tennessee, was sentenced to 35 years in prison for engaging in a child exploitation enterprise, three counts of advertising child pornography, and three counts of distributing child pornography. Benjamin A. Faulkner, 28, of Ontario, Canada, was sentenced to 35 years in prison; Andrew R. Leslie, 24, of Middleburg, Florida, was sentenced to 30 years in prison; and Brett A. Bedusek, 35, of Cudahy, Wisconsin, was sentenced to 20 years in prison, all for engaging in a child exploitation enterprise.The United States Department of Justice
The website these four were operating was named the Giftbox Exchange. It was founded by Falte in July 2015 and soon attracted Faulkner to become involved and share admin duties. The requirement for users to join the child pornography sharing forums that Falte created was the creation and posting of an act of child sex abuse. As there were 72,000 registered users and 56,000 posts, this suggests that the creation of the Giftbox Exchange may have led to tens of thousands of children being abused.
According to The U.S. Department of Justice, the Giftbox Exchange was organized in forums which were categorized by age, which included a sub forum listed as “Babies & Toddlers.”
“The Giftbox Exchange proved a haven for sophisticated predators to produce and spread deplorable depictions of child sexual abuse,” said Brian A. Benczkowski, Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “These sentences affirm that layers of anonymity on the dark web will not prevent the Department of Justice from identifying and holding accountable those who exploit children.”
Multiple spin-off websites were also produced by the four involved.
One such website, created by Faulkner, was dedicated to child sexual exploitation and, at one point, hosted over 200,000 users. Additionally, Faulkner created a hidden service on the Giftbox Exchange “reserved for producers of child pornography.”
Leslie ran another separate Tor-based hidden website which featured even more violent videos and images of child sex abuse.
Bedusek, while not founding his own evil website, was a VIP member of the Giftbox Exchange, which gave him access to the more explicit parts of the site. He, then, became a moderator, allowing him access to even more depraved content. This latest charge comes after his previous federal conviction related to child pornography.
“The sentences imposed on these despicable individuals should insure that they never have another opportunity to abuse another child,” said Don Cochran, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee. “With all that we have, we will continue to hunt down the evil and abominable like-minded individuals who delight in abusing children and will bring them to justice.”
Falte and Faulkner also face life sentences for their repeated sexual abuse of a toddler whom they gained access to through a user of their website. They abused this child multiple times. Additionally, Faulkner frequently travelled to Texas to abuse a different toddler and produce more child pornography.
Leslie also faces similar charges for similar acts, including the sexual abuse of an infant, much like Faulkner.
The arrests of these four monsters are the result of an ongoing, nationwide initiative called Project Safe Childhood, which was launched in May 2006 by the U.S. Department of Justice. The initiative seeks to “combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse.” It is led by the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and CEOs, and involves the collaboration of all law enforcement, from the local level all the way to the top.
Canada’s second plane of Hebei, China evacuees has left the quarantined area and made its way back to Ontario where it touched down at the Canadian Forces Base in Trenton, MSN reports.
The plane had room for approximately 200 passengers according to Foreign Affairs Minister, François-Philippe Champagne.
One passenger from the first evacuee flight named Myriam Larouche said that being in the quarantine zone felt similar to summer camp.
A group of World Health Organization members have left for China in order to study the coronavirus. The group is being led by Bruce Aylward—a Canadian epidemiologist.
The group will be attempting to find the origin of the virus and learn how serious the disease can be.
The most recent update suggests that the virus has killed 1,016 people and infected at least 42,638 Chinese people. Globally, the infection has reached over 43,000 people.
It has been more than three weeks since China first admitted to the world about the pandemic coronavirus outbreak. They had lied about it back in December 2019, reassuring the world that it was nothing to worry about. Since then, the World Health Organization declared a global health emergency on January 30, well after the coronavirus outbreak spread well beyond China.
On January 31, The Lancet, one of the world’s oldest and most prestigious medical journals published the latest findings of Professor Gabriel Leung MD, Prof Joseph Wu phD, Kathy Leung phD from the University of Hong Kong. According to their simulation model, 75,815 individuals have already been infected in the Greater Wuhan region, seven times higher than the numbers released by the Chinese government. Testimonials from distressed frontline doctors and nurses confirm their estimate.
As of today, almost every continent has countries which issued travel bans to China. The United States, UK, Taiwan, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, South Korea, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and Israel are among them. Russia and North Korea closed their borders with China. In addition, the United States, Taiwan, Japan and UK have issued quarantine advisories to those who have been to China for the past 14 days, which brings us to the question: “Why has Canada been so laissez faire about this epidemic?”
It seems that our Canadian health officials have been more concerned about alleged racism than getting correct information on the Canadian public in a timely manner. On January 25, when the first case of coronavirus was identified, Toronto Public Health officials said the risks remained low and the virus spread from people to people and show symptoms of fever. They were wrong. At the time there were already studies indicating that the infected do not always show symptoms.
When asked by a CTV reporter which flight the first infected person was on, Toronto Public Health could not give a straight answer. Then, again, on January 31, Health Minister Hajdu said Health Canada maintains there is no evidence that the virus can be transmitted by people who are asymptomatic. She was wrong. Chinese health officials had already confirmed multiple asymptomatic transmission cases last week.
On January 28 The York District School Board received a petition signed by thousands of parents calling on the school board to quarantine students. The school board then said to CBC, “What we’re trying really to get at is to [make sure] this situation is not giving rise to any inadvertent racism or any of those things that we could single out a community at this time”.
Except, they were wrong. The petition was signed by mostly Chinese parents who have first-hand understanding of how severe and dire the outbreak is in China. They may have access to information which our health officials and school board officials are not privy to. The mandatory quarantine policy has been reinforced by four countries already. These parents are NOT racists. They are just anxious and worried about their children. They are also a little upset and not impressed by the way our officials handled the communication on this issue altogether.
Civic leaders like Dr Joseph Wong and Avvy Go from the Chinee Canadian National Council said they want to get rid of the “myth” surrounding the virus. While both have done great work in advancing social justice in the Chinese Canadian community, neither of them has any expertise in immunology.
Xenophobia and racism have no place in Canada. But to interpret legitimate health concerns and advocacy for a travel ban to racism is equally despicable. The latest number of cases under investigation have jumped to 43 in Ontario. Why shouldn’t Canada issue a travel ban to people, regardless of ethnicity, who have been to China for the past fourteen days?
It is not racist to heighten alert around this yet unknown disease. I have cancelled all my Chinese New Year celebrations as I learn more about this fast spreading contagious virus. Am I a racist? Many cultural groups and organizations in the GTA either cancelled or rescheduled their Chinese New Year celebration. Are they racist?
Taking precautionary steps is not an over reaction. It is what every responsible citizen should do. By bringing race into the fight against the coronavirus, we may end up exonerating the responsibilities of the individual. And that is dangerous!
Already, there are people who came back from Wuhan who do not exercise self-quarantine. They roam the streets and restaurants freely. Furthermore, they post pictures of their daily outings on WeChat. Why is that acceptable behavior? The first man who contracted the coronavirus from Wuhan had known that he was sick. He had a choice. He could have sought medical treatment in Beijing when he transferred planes there. He did not. He continued his itinerary, putting everyone else at risk. He was selfish and irresponsible. He deserves no sympathy. He should be chastised. We should all be thankful that self-help groups for those who voluntarily quarantine after their return from China have started in the GTA’s Chinese community. These WeChat groups connect families who are in quarantine with local grocery stores, bakeries to deliver food and supplies.
Regressive liberals have a funny way of thinking. They will do anything, including overlooking scientific research, data and facts to reinforce their soft bigotry of low expectations. They will try to let political correctness dictate public health policies. As a result, they do far more harm to the people they claim to protect.
Let’s not be woke about the coronavirus, but conscious of its life-threatening dangers. Let’s take every necessary step in containing it.
A plane carrying 176 Canadian’s from Wuhan, China has landed at the Canadian Forces Base in Trenton, Ontario today.
According to CBC News, the flight sent by the federal government landed in Vancouver close to 9 p.m. PT to refuel before leaving for Ontario. The people arriving back from China will be under quarantine for the next 14 days.
The flight was delayed for a day because of subpar weather in Vietnam where the plane was before heading to Wuhan.
There were 194 people who said they would show up to the airport to board the flight. Included in the 194 people were 13 permanent residents as well as 34 minors.
A passenger on the plane named Petal Wang spoke to CBC News about the flight. She said that everyone’s temperature was taken once in Wuhan and again when they arrived at YVR.
Passengers were informed that the crew changeover and refuelling would take about two hours. Wang said that she felt grateful when she left Wuhan.
“The virus itself is not that scary but because Wuhan has a healthcare system that’s so overwhelmed, once you catch it there you won’t be able to get help,” said Wang.
“So people are trying everything they can to try to get out of there. And we’re glad that we’re able to leave.”
Wang also noted that the plane still had some empty seats.
Health Minister Patty Hajdu told CBC News that it is possible that the 18 people who did not board the plane could have been held back due to showing signs of the virus.
“But it could also be that they changed their mind at the last minute,” said Hajdu
“It’s a big decision for people. There might be situations where there is a family member left behind that’s in hospital. There might be situations where someone is studying or working. I think we’ll have better clarity as the days evolve.”
Multiple screenings were required before passengers were allowed to board the plane. Anyone showing symptoms was not permitted to board.
Foreign Affairs Minister, Francois-Philippe Champagne said that the Canadians who are still in Wuhan will be able to fly out of the city on an American flight that is scheduled to leave shortly.
There have been five coronavirus cases documented in Canada so far.
Investigations are being conducted by the Regina Police Service regarding seven cases involving property damage.
Co-op refinery spokesperson, Brad DeLorey has confirmed that each of the seven homes are owned by Co-op Refinery managers.
“We will take all necessary actions to protect our people and their families,” said DeLorey.
CTV News has reported that the Regina Police Service believes the incidents are linked to a labour dispute at the company.
The vandalism comes just weeks after the president of Unifor, Jerry Dias, was arrested by Regina police on the picketing lines outside of the Co-op Refinery.
Police have said that they received reports of the incidents on Feb. 4 and 5 but added that they could have taken place as far back as Jan. 30.
The property damage took place at the addresses listed below:
- 3600 block Hazel Grove
- 1600 N. Fenwick Cres.
- 3800 E. Thames Rd.
- 1600 N. Violet Cres
- 4600 Sherlock Dr.
- 5500 Blake Cres.
- 0-99 block Wesley Rd.
If you have additional information you can contact Regina police at 306-777-6500 or Crime Stoppers 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS).