Identification of Child Porn Site Creator Results in 900 Arrests Worldwide, Over 300 Children Rescued

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The identification and arrest of a child pornography site creator has resulted in nearly 900 arrests worldwide and over 300 children rescued, the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) has announced.

Steven Chase, 58, the operator of the now defunct site “Playpen,” was sentenced to 30 years behind bars earlier this month in a Charlotte courtroom. He will also be supervised following his release for the rest of his life and must forfeit his current home and any other property used in the illegal endeavor.

Chase had been arrested in February 2015 and charged with one count of engaging in a child exploitation enterprise, one count of advertising child pornography, three counts of transportation of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography. He was found guilty by a jury trial in September.

His “Playpen” site, which reportedly had 150,000 users worldwide, was part of the “Tor anonymity network” and allowed pedophiles to upload and view tens of thousands of illicit images of children being sexually abused.

While users tried to hide their activity, in December 2014, Chase accidentally revealed his IP address, which was captured by a foreign law enforcement agency that in turn notified the FBI. Chase’s home was subsequently searched and thousands of images were discovered on his electronic devices.

His co-conspirators, Michael Fluckiger, 46, of Portland, Indiana, and David Lynn Browning, 47, of Wooton, Kentucky, were arrested as well.

In January 2015, the FBI, along with the Department of Justice’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, launched “Operation Pacifier” to bust the rest of site’s other thousands of users. It utilized a Network Investigative Technique (NIT) to decipher their IP addresses, which provided leads in every U.S. state, according to the government agency.

  • Connect with Christian News

The U.S. government also worked with law enforcement agencies in other countries, such as the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Italy Israel, Turkey, Peru, Malaysia, Chile, and the Ukraine. As a result, 350 U.S. users were arrested and 548 international users were also taken into custody.

55 children in the U.S. and 296 children worldwide were identified and/or rescued.

“The case—and the thousands of follow-up investigations it has launched—is unprecedented in its scope and reach,” the FBI said in a statement. “It represents the Bureau’s most successful effort to date against users of Tor’s hidden service sites. And it has opened new avenues for international cooperation in efforts to prosecute child abusers around the world.”

“Child predators use online forums on anonymous networks to abuse and exploit children, preying on the inexperienced and vulnerable in society. This pervasive and global problem demands an aggressive, technology-driven response,” also remarked Acting Assistant U.S. Attorney General Kenneth Blanco.

“The sentencing of the creator of the Playpen forum along with the identification, apprehension and prosecution of forum members around the country—sends a message that online predators will be caught and prosecuted,” he said. “While identifying and apprehending these criminals can be challenging, it is not impossible, and together with our domestic and foreign partners we will use every legal authority and technical tool we have to root out these predators and protect children from harm.”


A special message from the publisher...

Dear Reader, because of your generous support, we have received enough funds to send many audio Bibles to Iraqi and Syrian refugees displaced by ISIS in the Middle East. Many have been distributed and received with gladness. While we provide for the physical needs of the people, we seek to provide the eternal hope only found in Jesus Christ through the word of God. Would you join us by making a donation today to this important work? Please click here to send an audio Bible to a refugee family >>

Print Friendly
  • Grace Kim Kwon

    It’s insane for the Western culture to indoctrinate children to become Sodomites and transgenderers in this kind of era.
    May King Jesus come back quickly and destroy Sodom. Jude 1.

    • Dianne

      Grace, this is a worldwide problem and not just a Western problem. I thank God Almighty that these disgusting people were apprehended and brought to justice, however I see again that you missed or deliberately OVERLOOKED that 296 worldwide and 55 in the USA were caught because you are a fanatic about blaming the western nations for this crime when 2/3 of SEX TRAFFICKING is committed in Asian countries and that is a FACT. Also female children as young as 8 years old can be sexually abused for $20 in Cambodia. Where is YOUR OUTRAGE OVER THAT. It is quite apparent that you love to TROLL Christian American website to sow your BITTER INDICTMENT of our culture but NEGLECT TO SEE that this is a GOBAL ATROCITY. You will surely be REBUKED AND CHASTENED BY THE LORD FOR YOUR ARROGANT DUPLICITY!! If you don’t believe me READ Revelation 3:19 God is WARNING YOU!

      Proverbs 13:10 Through insolence comes nothing but strife, But wisdom is with those who receive counsel.

  • xinthose

    Praise the Lord for this good news!

  • MEP1101

    ARE THESE PEDOPHILES HOMOSEXUALS?

    • Sharon_at_home

      That is not anymore likely than the pedophiles being heterosexual. Homosexuals are not the same as pedophiles so they are equally the same in the possibilities as heterosexuals.

  • Robert

    Alex Jones reported on the island with under age girls that Bill and Hillary and other big wigs he says visits. Why isn’t any thing done about that ?is it because some people no matter what are above the law? I would think if it were not true They would easily be able to shut Alex Jones down with law suits.

  • Robert

    Good start. FBI is also going to be busy with Muslims old men who take child brides. I wonder how many if any ? Obama let in to this country.