'Rippernet' child porn ring used 'capping' to exploit more than - FOX Carolina 21

'Rippernet' child porn ring used 'capping' to exploit more than 2,000 unsuspecting victims

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Dane William Anderson (Source: Buncombe Co. Sheriff's Office) Dane William Anderson (Source: Buncombe Co. Sheriff's Office)
CANDLER, NC (FOX Carolina) -

The U.S. Department of Justice said online predators are using a sophisticated new method called "capping" to produce and distribute child pornography.

On Thursday, three men who were part of a child porn ring referred to as the "Rippernet" were sentenced to prison time for their roles in what the U.S. Attorney described as a "sinister network of online child predators, responsible for producing and amassing child pornography on a scale rarely seen."

The three were identified 32-year-old Dane William Anderson of Candler, NC; 54-year-old Samuel Heineman IV of Marietta, PA; and 38-year-old Mark Christopher Klein of Hugo, MN.

According to court records, Heineman was the most prolific producer of child pornography using the capping method, which he taught to Anderson. Anderson, in turn, taught it to Klein. The crimes occurred between 2002 and 2015.

The U.S. Attorney's Office said capping is a method of tricking victims into performing sex acts in front of web cams, which were then recorded. Heineman, Anderson and Klein would create false, sexually-explicit online personas of adolescent girls and the victim would believe they were communicating with those girls. 

According to court records, Anderson used the aliases "Heather Acer," "Kylie Harris" and "Kerrie Johnansen" online.

Authorities described Anderson as the "archivist" of the child porn ring, collecting and organizing the porn into files and distributing the material to capper associates. Devices seized from his home in Candler revealed more than 17,000 videos and 10,000 images depicting the abuse of children.

Court records indicate videos seized on Anderson's computer included children as young as six years old being abused.

"It took law enforcement nearly a year to shift through and analyze Anderson’s massive collection of disturbing images and videos,” said U.S Attorney R. Andrew Murray.

The combined number of known victims from the three men is estimated to be more than 2,290, court records indicate.

Officials said in 2013, Anderson met a child victim online and traveled to his home in Henderson County where he engaged in a sex act with the 14-year-old while his parents were out of town.

Anderson pleaded guilty to one count of production and one count of possession of child pornography. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison. Heineman and Klein pleaded guilty to conspiracy to sexually exploit a child. They were sentenced to 21 and 16 years in prison, respectively.

All three of them will serve a lifetime of supervised release when they get out of prison and will be required to register as sex offenders.

The Buncombe County Sheriff's Office assisted in the case.

“This was a heinous child predator conspiracy, crossing international and state borders,” said acting HSI Special Agent Wiest. “Our deepest concern is for the victims of these horrible crimes and we hope today’s sentencing can help them continue on the path of recovery.”

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