A Modesto man was sentenced to 35 years for his role in a child pornography ring, the Department of Justice announced Friday.
Justin Fuller, 37, was one of six defendants in the case, which was prosecuted by the U.S. attorney's office in Eastern Michigan.
On April 13, a jury found Fuller guilty of one count of engaging in a child exploitation enterprise; one count of conspiracy to produce child pornography; five counts of production of child pornography; one count of conspiracy to receive child pornography; one count of conspiracy to access with intent to view child pornography; and five counts of enticement of a minor to engage in illegal sexual activity.
According to trial evidence, between Nov. 16, 2013 and March 10, 2016, Fuller and his five co-conspirators located in different states worked together to lure juvenile girls to a video chat website in order to get them to engage in sexually explicit conduct, the Justice Department said.
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The group members predominantly targeted prepubescent girls and would, unbeknownst to the girls, record the lured young girls performing the sexually explicit conduct.
The group was active for approximately two years and communicated with each other through “base” chatrooms that were password-protected, the Justice Department said.
In the base chat rooms, Fuller and co-conspirators strategized how to convince minor females to produce child pornography, including pretending to be teenage boys or girls to help convince the minor females to engage in sexual activity.
Three other co-conspirators were also sentenced Thursday.
The case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse, launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and CEOS, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims.