November 17, 2011

USDOJ: Lead Administrator of Online Child Pornography Bulletin Board Pleads Guilty in Maryland to Child Pornography Conspiracy Charge

11-17-2011 Maryland:

WASHINGTON – A Cumberland, Md ., man pleaded guilty yesterday for his role as a lead administrator of an online child pornography bulletin board.

The guilty plea was announced by Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge William Winter of United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); and Postal Inspector in Charge Daniel S. Cortez of the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), Washington Division.

George Sell, 70, pleaded guilty before United States District Judge Alexander Williams Jr of the District of Maryland to conspiracy to transport child pornography.

According to his plea agreement, from December 2006 through August 2008, Sell and others conspired to operate “Country Lounge,” a secure web-based bulletin board dedicated to trading images of child pornography. Members could join this group only upon invitation and after approval by the group’s administrators, including Sell. To obtain access to the bulletin board, members needed a log-in username and password. Members were instructed by a specific set of rules and guidelines on how to post images via “Country Lounge” to avoid detection from law enforcement. As of August 2008, 142 members belonged to the bulletin board, which was hosted on computer servers in Virginia and Texas. In October 2008, the bulletin board was seized by law enforcement authorities.

According to court documents, Sell conspired with other individuals to take control of “Country Lounge” from its former owner and administrator, directed the creation and operation of a new “Country Lounge,” and received technical advice and assistance from co-conspirators to obtain his goal of creating and operating a new “Country Lounge.” From December 2006 through July 2008, Sell was the “root administrator” and day-to-day manager of the bulletin board and conspired to transport images of child pornography. Sell admitted that he directed the daily management of the bulletin board, including direction over its layout and content, membership and the “rules” of the board. ..For the remainder of this article.. by US Department of Justice

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