U.S. Attorney Stephanie A. Finley said Edward Oedewaldt, 49, of Arcadia, La., was the moderator of Dreamboard and handled the encryption of posts in an attempt to prevent law enforcement from catching participants. Finley said in a news release that seven other people were also sentenced in the past week in Louisiana.
U.S. District Judge S. Maurice Hicks in Shreveport sentenced Oedewaldt on Wednesday to 38 years.
Finley said Oedewaldt is the highest-level member of the group convicted so far. She said 72 people from around the world have been charged in an ongoing international investigation.
Oedewaldt’s case shows the difficulty in tracking down suspects. He was indicted in September 2008 under his screen name, “Legend,” but wasn’t arrested until April 2010, when authorities determined who he was and picked him up in Louisiana. Authorities have said he bragged online that he didn’t think he would be caught.
Membership was tightly controlled by the administrators of Dreamboard, who required people to upload child pornography portraying children 12 years of age or younger when applying for membership, Finley said. The highest level of membership was reserved for people who created new images of child pornography by molesting children.
Finley said the site also required members to organize postings based on content. One category was called “Super Hardcore” and was reserved for violent rapes and beatings of very young children.
Evidence obtained during the operation revealed that at least 38 children across the world were suffering sexual abuse at the hands of the members of the group.
Others sentenced in Louisiana in the past week are: Jerrold Wright, 56, of Santa Ana, Calif.; David B. Lindsay, 32, of Midvale, Utah; Jason Simon, 43, of Glendale, Calif.; Stephen Fairbanks, 36, of Laverne, Calif.; Timothy Stone, 20, of St. Charles, Mo.; Scott Speigel, 50, of Ashburn, Va.; and Scott Lewandowski, 39, of Pueblo, Colo. The sentences of all eight defendants added up to 169 years.
“The sentences reflect the seriousness of this criminal activity. We know that there is more work to be done, and we will continue investigating and prosecuting these cases to the fullest extent of the laws,” Finley said.