The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Cops, courts and fires

November 22, 2013

Feds: Child porn ring hidden for years; Anderson man among 11 charged

US postal inspectors' investigation led to Vaughn

INDIANAPOLIS — Investigators have busted an international child pornography ring that remained undetected for 12 years by using data encryption technology that one federal prosecutor said Thursday was the best he’d seen in more than 20 years on the job.

A total of 11 men, including 44-year-old Thomas Vaughn of Anderson, have been convicted or are in custody, prosecutors said at a news conference in Indianapolis, where the case was filed in federal court. They are charged with sexually exploiting minors.

Ring members have been charged or are under investigation in Canada, Switzerland and other countries, prosecutors said, although they didn’t say how many foreign suspects.

Nearly 100 children, most of them boys who ranged from toddlers to teens, were exploited by the ring, prosecutors said.

“These defendants engaged in an operation that had one purpose and one purpose only, to promote the abuse and exploitation of our children,” U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett said.

Members of the ring mostly traded pornography instead of producing it, but at least four members allegedly conspired to produce new videos and images of boys engaging in sex, which then could be distributed to other members of the group, prosecutors said.

One of the defendants, 42-year-old John Rex Powell, of Fort Myers, Fla., is awaiting trial in a separate child porn case involving two Australians accused of making their adopted son sexually available to men around the world. Powell is charged with the sexual exploitation of children and a conspiracy count in that case.

Powell’s involvement in both schemes was key to dismantling the child porn ring described Thursday, Hogsett said.

The ring began operating sometime in 2000 and was shut down in April 2012, but the investigation remained sealed until Thursday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Steve DeBrota said.

U.S. postal inspectors investigating a foreign company selling videotapes were led to individuals in Idaho and Pennsylvania, then to two Indiana men, 61-year-old John Richard Edwards of Indianapolis and Vaughn.

Text Only
Cops, courts and fires
  • Car crash Two injured in accident at intersection missing stop sign Three weeks after a previous accident took out the stop sign at Sycamore Street and Nichol Avenue, another collision took place at the intersection Wednesday.

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Anderson woman facing 90-year sentence in attempted abduction of infant

    An Anderson woman faces up to 90 years in prison after pleading guilty to trying to abduct an infant in Muncie in 2013.

    August 20, 2014

  • NWS - HB0821 - Lapel Fire Station Lapel turns dirt for new fire station After working on the details on financing for years, the Lapel Stony Creek Township Fire Territory is much closer to opening a new station after a ceremonial ground breaking Tuesday night.

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Arrest Log: Aug. 21 Arrests made by Madison County law enforcement on Tuesday and Wednesday, based on Madison County Jail records.

    August 20, 2014

  • Election board looking into voter fraud allegation The Madison County Election Board delayed a decision into allegations of voter fraud in the May primary until it can gather additional information. Brian Bell, who lost the Democratic Party‚Äôs nomination for sheriff by 48 votes to Scott Mellinger, raised allegations to the election board during a hearing Friday.

    August 19, 2014

  • NWS - HB0815 - heroin bust - JM - james dixon New York suspect denies involvement in large heroin network A New York man suspected of involvement in the large heroin ring dismantled last week said he has never sold drugs in his life, though he suspected that's exactly what his brother was doing.

    August 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mother who brought gun to school pleads guilty

    A mother who admitted to bringing a gun to a meeting at her son's school in April pleaded guilty on Tuesday.

    August 19, 2014

  • Arrest Log: Aug. 20 Arrests made by Madison County law enforcement on Monday and Tuesday, based on Madison County Jail records.

    August 19, 2014

  • boydx.jpg Mississippi fugitive arrested in Anderson

    A Mississippi man arrested by U.S. Marshals Monday night agreed to be transported back to Mississippi during an extradition hearing Tuesday. But the man said he's concerned about how he'll be treated once he returns.

    August 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • State police seek recruits The Indiana State Police is accepting applications for the 75th Recruit Academy. Individuals who are interested in beginning a career as a state trooper may apply online.

    August 19, 2014

Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide