The Los Angeles-led FBI investigation into the online child pornography group known as "Lost Boy" resulted in the indictments of nineteen Americans and fourteen defendants abroad. The men were charged collectively for running a child exploitation enterprise, among other crimes. The investigation, along with the spinoff case that netted Missouri-based Jeffrey Greenwell, a prolific producer of child pornography, were the subjects of our Jan. 11 feature story, "The Scooby-Doo Files."
Read the original Lost Boy grand jury indictment, filed in September of 2009, here. (Warning, the material is graphic.)
Read Greenwell's guilty plea agreement here.
The child exploitation enterprise charge, which carries a twenty-year minimum sentence for anyone caught participating in three or more sexual felonies involving three or more victims, is the fruit of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, signed into law in 2006 by President George W. Bush. The new law made significant changes to sexual abuse and exploitation crimes, created new crimes and categorized a new three-tier system of categorizing sex offenders.
Similar to the RICO Act, the exploitation enterprise charge allows judges to levy heavier sentences on child molesters who are engaged in cooperative, sustained criminal efforts with others.
At the time, the Lost Boy indictment represented the largest-ever child exploitation enterprise crackdown since the signing of the Walsh Act, according to the Department of Justice. To date, fifteen U.S. Lost Boy defendants have been convicted, one died in custody and three remain at large. All told, the authorities identified 200 victims as a result of the investigation.
(Since the Lost Boy case, "Operation Delego," a two-and-a-half-year investigation launched December 2009 by the justice department and the Department of Homeland Security, resulted in the indictment of 72 defendants for their participation in Dreamboard -- a private, members-only, online bulletin board created to promote pedophilia, not unlike Lost Boy.)
Greenwell, who produced pornographic images and videos that ultimately appeared on the Lost Boy online bulletin board, pleaded guilty to five counts of production of child pornography. Last October a U.S. District judge sentenced him to twenty years per count, for a total of 100 years in prison.