WASHINGTON -- A nationwide sting against child pornographers has produced the first-ever life sentence for a pornographer, Attorney General John Ashcroft will announce today.
The case, the biggest prize thus far from a federal crackdown on Internet child pornography, is the first in which foreign Webmasters have been indicted in the United States. Ashcroft is expected to announce a large number of additional indictments of the pornographer's customers in the case, which was broken by the Postal Investigation Service.
Thomas Reedy, 37, of Fort Worth, Texas, received a total of 1,335 years in prison Monday from a Texas judge after being found guilty in December of 89 counts of sexual exploitation of minors, distribution of child pornography and conspiracy. His wife, Janice, 32, the ring's bookkeeper, got 14 years in prison.
Reedy's company, Landslide Productions Inc., took in up to $1.4 million a month, according to the Postal Investigation Service, for providing a gateway to the Web sites of child pornographers in Russia and Indonesia. Landslide, which also dealt in adult pornography, had an estimated 250,000 visitors.
At the Reedys' trial, a British detective testified that one video offered through Landslide was the "Helen Series," scenes of a brother and sister who had been sexually molested by their stepfather over a period of years.
Three foreign Webmasters who offered their wares through Landslide, R.W. Kusuma and Hanny Ingganata of Indonesia and Boris Greenberg of Russia, were indicted along with the Reedys in April 2000 on child pornography charges. Warrants have been issued for their arrest. All three men remain at large.
The Reedy case led to the creation of a nationwide network of 30 federally funded task forces to fight Internet crimes against children. The campaign, called Operation Avalanche, is believed to have netted scores of child-pornography buyers nationwide. Some investigations are still under way, law enforcement officials told Knight Ridder.