(STL.News) – Brian Northup, age 28, of Hudson, New York, pled guilty today to accessing a child pornography web site available only through an anonymous Internet network.
The announcement was made by United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith and James N. Hendricks, Special Agent in Charge of the Albany Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
As part of his plea, Northup admitted that in 2015, he accessed Playpen, an online forum through which registered users advertised, viewed, and distributed child pornography. Images and videos shared through the site were highly categorized according to victim age and gender, and type of sexual activity depicted.
Before the FBI seized the Playpen web site and shut it down, it was available only through an anonymous Internet network, which allowed users to access websites including Playpen without revealing their actual internet protocol address, geographic location, or other identifying information. Northup admitted that he logged into Playpen in order to access its child pornography content.
Northup faces up to 10 years in prison when he is sentenced by United States District Judge Mae A. D’Agostino on April 6, 2020. He also faces a term of post-imprisonment supervised release of at least 5 years and up to life, a fine of up to $250,000, and mandatory registration as a sex offender. A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on the particular statute the defendant is charged with violating, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other factors.
This case was investigated by the FBI and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Emmet O’Hanlon.
This case is prosecuted as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices, 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 identify and rescue victims.