Major child porn distributor sentenced to 30 years


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By David Porter
Associated Press

A Ukrainian man who authorities said could be the most significant distributor of child pornography ever prosecuted in the U.S. was sentenced to 30 years in prison Tuesday for running a network of websites that catered to pedophiles around the world.

The sentence was part of a plea deal reached by Maksym Shynkarenko in early January, about five years after his arrest in Thailand and 18 months after his extradition to the U.S. He will likely be deported when he is released from prison.

The indictment unsealed in 2012 claimed Shynkarenko traded in tens of thousands of hardcore pornographic images and videos that depicted children ranging from infants and toddlers to teenagers being graphically sexually assaulted or abused, in most cases by adults. He and his associates advertised the websites with names such as "Illegal.CP," "The Sick Child Room" and "Hottest Childporn Garden."

The U.S. attorney's office said Tuesday the investigation into a website that Shynkarenko operated between 2005 and 2008 has led to the criminal convictions of more than 600 U.S. residents in 47 states. The investigation was initiated after agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, found the website through emails sent from a computer in New Jersey.

"Shynkarenko worked the supply side of a market that sells images of the most depraved, predatory abuse of children," U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said.

Defense attorney Nicholas Wooldridge said Shynkarenko wasn't involved in the production of child pornography. He characterized Shynkarenko as a "smart guy" who earned a degree from a technical college in Ukraine and who used his knowledge of computers to run the network of websites described in the indictment.

The judge said he wouldn't oppose a request by Wooldridge to have the approximately three-and-a-half years Shynkarenko was jailed in Thailand deducted from his 30-year sentence. The judge rejected Wooldridge's argument that Shynkarenko deserved a greater reduction because of the deplorable conditions of Thai jails.

Shynkarenko spoke briefly in court Tuesday.

"I want to just say I regret my crime, and I am grateful for the chance to change my life," he said.

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