Lafayette

Jul 21, 2011 9:59 PM by Maddie Garrett

Major Online Child Porn Ring Connected to Lafayette

An online child pornography ring, with suspects located across the U.S., originated in Louisiana. Now nearly a dozen suspects are facing trial in Lafayette. The Internet bulletin board was called Dreamboard, and according to federal documents, there are 22 alleged members of the site. At least some of the suspects live out of state, but because the case originated here in Louisiana, those suspects will soon be tried in Lafayette's Federal Court.

Right now only one suspect is identified as 31-year-old Matthew Wheeler, a high school football coach in Buena Vista, Virginia. Sources in Roanoke County report Wheeler was arrested Friday on child pornography charges. He's being held in the Roanoke County Jail without bond, awaiting to transfer to Lafayette for trial.

In the indictments, Wheeler is listed as John Doe No. 14, a.k.a. "Wildman" along with 21 other "John Doe's." None of the 22 people charged are identified in the indictments.

The federal court records are redacted, but do reveal that the members of Dreamboard would post website addresses where child pornography could be downloaded using a password. It's believed Wheeler had to submit images to become a member of the Internet bulletin.

The site was in operation from January 2008 until last August. Dreamboard had rules and a hierarchy in which the most trusted members, called "Super VIPs" had the greatest access to the images.

Federal authorities say Dreamboard has roots here in Louisiana, and that's why the case will be tried here.

It's still unclear if any of the other 21 alleged members live in Acadiana, or how exactly the child pornography is tied to Louisiana. KATC has repeatedly contacted the U.S. Attorney's Office in Lafayette to find out these answers, but did not receive a response by late Thursday night.

 

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