LOS ANGELES — A Santa Monica man was sentenced Monday to seven years in federal prison for his involvement in a child pornography ring, authorities said.

Kevin Kaller Wright, 44, was the fifth and final defendant to plead guilty. He received his 84-month sentence from United States District Judge Margaret M. Morrow.

Wright and four others admitted to being part of Quest4More, a Los Angeles-based Internet message board whose members “advocated the sexual torture of children,” according to court documents. Quest4More was used to distribute and view illegal images and videos of prepubescent children, sometimes toddlers, being subjected to sexual and sadistic acts. The group also posted links to other sites that had images of child sexual abuse.

Law enforcement was alerted to the group following the arrest of one of its members in 2008. The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

The defendants previously sentenced included Michael Pharis, 51, of Las Vegas; Daniel Murphy, 53, of Millville, N.J.; Paul Challender, 54, of Big Rapids, Mich.; and William Ho, 39, of Hacienda Heights, Calif. Prison sentences for the men ranged from seven to 15 years.

All five men charged in this case pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to transport, receive, distribute and possess child pornography.

Each defendant made hundreds of posts to the Quest4More bulletin board, according to federal officials. Wright, one of the board’s more prolific users, made over 400 posts, although he did not post any pictures to the site.

Wright was sentenced to 10 years of supervised release, and the other four defendants were sentenced to a lifetime of supervised release, following their prison terms.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse.

The project, led by the U.S. Attorney’s Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), utilizes federal, state and local resources to apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children, as well as identify and rescue victims.

news@www.smdp.com

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.