Bloomington man leads FBI to first child porn ring of its kind

By Timothy Cox
The Statehouse File

INDIANAPOLIS – Seven men have pleaded guilty and two more have agreed to do so in connection with a child pornography ring – one that exploited infants – that law enforcement officials discovered in November 2010 while investigating a Bloomington case.

Federal prosecutors displayed this map Thursday as they discussed convictions in a pornography ring that involved children as young as 2 months old. Photo by Timothy Cox, The Statehouse File.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Thursday the results of “Operation Bulldog” – an 18-month investigation it undertook with the Justice Department’s criminal division – that consisted of tracking every person with an illegal connection to the Bloomington man, 26-year-old David Bostic.

“More than two dozen children here in Indiana and across the globe have been rescued from their tormentors,” said First Assistant United States Attorney Josh Minkler.

Prosecutors say Bostic earned the trust of families, offered to babysit the children, and would then engage in sexual acts with them which he would film, photograph and distribute. The children were aged two months to four years old.

Bostic is serving a sentence of 315 years in prison.

Prosecutors said Shawn Kuykendall, 32, of South Carolina, was instrumental in the distribution of the material throughout the United States and other countries. A federal judge sentenced Kuykendall on Wednesday to 25 years in prison.

Seven other men – who hail from Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Texas, Kentucky, Michigan, California and Washington – were also charged with possession or distribution of the pornography created in Indiana. Five have been sentenced; two have agreed to plead guilty.

Criminals who target infants, toddlers and elementary-aged students are known as nepiophiles, rather than pedophiles. Prosecutors said this was the first pornography ring involving nepiophilia uncovered in the country.

Federal Prosecutor Steve DeBrota said Thursday that investigators were shocked by the age of the victims they found in a pornography ring and were determined to prosecute as many of those participating as possible. By Timothy Cox, The Statehouse File

“Having found something that bad, we made sure to catch as many people as we could, and that’s what this prosecution represents,” Prosecutor Steve DeBrota said.

Officials named the investigation Operation Bulldog because when the dogs bite, “they stay on,” DeBrota said.

“When we realized we had a group that needed to be hunted down, we didn’t want to let go, so we thought that was a good image,” he said.

At least 11 additional people connected to Bostic’s child porn ring have been captured and are being prosecuted elsewhere, including in the Netherlands, Serbia, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

More important, Minkler said, “are the more than two dozen victims who have been rescued from these individuals.”

They include young children in Indiana and in other parts of the world, he said. They were children “who far too often weren’t old enough to comprehend the crimes committed against them, children who were raped in this state and were too young to ask for help,” Minkler said.

“Although this is the closure of the Operation Bulldog investigation, the victims in this investigation do not have closure,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Bob Holley. “They will bear the scars of their exploitation for years to come, and I only hope that the families associated with the victims have some solace in the significant sentencings that each of these individuals have received.”

Operation Bulldog acted as part of Project Safe Childhood, a federal project by the Justice Department to stomp out child exploitation online.

“It is our belief that (the children) have been given a voice and that justice has been done on their behalf,” Minkler said.

Timothy Cox is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.

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