Man facing charges as leader of group in Detroit child pornography case

Posted at 8:43 PM, Oct 23, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-24 07:17:19-04

A complaint filed in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan alleges that a New York State man is the leader of a group of individuals who used an unnamed social media website to produce and share child pornography.

The complaint identified the man as Christian Maire of Binghamton, New York.

The complaint charges him with producing, attempting to produce and conspiracy to produce child pornography, conspiracy to receive child pornography, conspiracy to access with intent to view child pornography, participation in a child exploitation enterprise, and coercion and enticement of a minor.

According to the complaint, FBI officials searched his home Monday, while his wife and two children were present.

The complaint also says that Maire voluntarily spoke with agents and admitted that his visited the website with the intention of viewing child pornography.

The complaint is the result of an ongoing investigation into online child pornography, and branched out in Maire's direction, according to the federal complaint, in June when officials interviewed a 16-year-old who resides in the Eastern District of Michigan.

The girl told police she visited a chatroom on the website with a group of four to five people, whom she believed to be teenaged boys.

During those visits, the girl told federal officials that the group enticed her to show her naked body, and tried to get her to engage in sexual activity - including with her brother.

Officials say their investigation led them to another website, where the group allegedly kept a spreadsheet that included the names of their victims and what they had gotten them to do using coded terms.

The federal complaint alleges that the group worked as a team, with some members being "talkers", who talked to the girls to get them to engage in sexual activities, "hunters", who were in charge of getting the girls to the social media website and alerting the other members that they were online, and "loopers", who were in charge of playing previously recorded videos and pretending to be the minors depicted in the videos, so that they appeared to be happening in real time.

Federal officials say they are working to identify several other victims, as well as subjects, uncovered by the investigation and that the group had organized itself as early as 2012.

The complaint also reveals that a second, unidentified suspect, was also uncovered by the investigation. That suspect is cooperating with federal investigators. 

According to the complaint, that suspect is also part of a second group, of which 6 members, based in the United States, were arrested and indicted and are currently detained in the Eastern District of Michigan.

Officials say they have recovered over 1,000 child pornography videos from the second suspect's devices.