International child pornography ring sentenced in NC

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ASHEVILLE, NC (WSPA) – Three men were sentenced for their part in an international online child pornography ring.

According to a federal court news release, Dane William Anderson, 32, of Candler, NC, Samuel Heineman, IV, 54 of Marietta, PA, and Mark Christopher Klein, 38, of Hugo, MN, were each sentenced for their part in the ring that reportedly produced and shared thousands of images and videos of child pornography.

Anderson was sentenced to 20 years in prison, Heineman — previously of Berlin, Germany — was sentenced to 21 years in prison and Klein was sentenced to 16 years in prison.

According to the release, all three men were also ordered to serve a lifetime of supervised release and must register as a sex offender after they are released from prison.

From 2002 to 2015, Anderson, Heineman and Klein were members of the ring referred to as “Rippernet,” which reportedly tricked young victims into performing sexually explicit acts in front of webcams.

According to the release, Anderson was responsible for producing the images and videos of child pornography, and Heineman taught his method to Anderson and Klein.

Anderson pleaded guilty to one count of production and one count of possession of child pornography.

Heineman and Klein each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to sexually exploit a child.

All three men are in United States Marshal custody pending their transfer to a federal facility.

“The three men sentenced today were part of a sinister network of online child predators, responsible for producing and amassing child pornography on a scale rarely seen,” U.S. Attorney Andrew Murray said. “It took law enforcement nearly a year to shift through and analyze Anderson’s massive collection of disturbing images and videos. While this sentence will never repair the trauma suffered by the victims in this case, it does, hopefully, send a message of deterrence to other would-be offenders.”