Defendant Allegedly Received Images of Young Children Being Subjected To Sexual Bondage and Sex Acts with Adults
OAKLAND – LAWFUEL – Law News, Law Jobs – A Bay Area man who lives in a home that formerly served as a licensed day care facility made his initial appearance in federal court here this morning to face charges of receiving child pornography, U.S. Attorney Kevin V. Ryan announced today. The charges are the result of an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Newark Police Department.
Tony Pooya Aflatooni, 27, of Newark, California, appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Wayne D. Brazil this morning. Aflatooni was arrested by ICE agents at San Francisco International Airport yesterday on a criminal complaint charging him with receipt of child pornography. The complaint alleges that Aflatooni possessed thousands of images and videos of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct, including graphic images of infants and children being subjected to sexual bondage and torture.
According to the complaint, Aflatooni lived with his mother, who operated a state-licensed child care facility out of their Newark residence at 36023 Spruce Street. The facility ceased operation November 30, the same day investigators searched the residence.
Aflatooni’s arrest came after he attempted to leave the country after learning he was under investigation. U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers in San Francisco report that the defendant boarded a plane to Paris on December 4 and caught a connecting flight to Iran. Aflatooni returned to the United States after Iranian authorities denied him entry.
U.S. Attorney Kevin V. Ryan stated, “While the Internet is a useful tool, it has the potential to facilitate heinous criminal conduct. This is another example of our continuing focus on the protection of children, who are some of the most vulnerable members of our society. I thank ICE and the Newark Police Department for their dedication to this case.”
The investigation into Aflatooni stems from a lead provided by an ICE undercover agent in Oregon who was monitoring an Internet chat room. Based on that lead, ICE agents and Newark police officers executed a search warrant at Aflatooni’s residence on November 30, 2006. During the search, officers seized a desktop computer, 95 CDs and DVDs, a thumb drive, and a digital camera with a memory card. Among the child pornography found on the DVDs were images and videos of infants and prepubescent children being subjected to sexual bondage and sex acts with adults.
According to the complaint, several images of a prepubescent girl in various lascivious positions and states of undress were taken by the defendant with his camera. Those images were of a child who was under the care of the defendant’s mother at the time the pictures were taken.
“Identifying and investigating those who sexually exploit children is one of the most important responsibilities that we have,” said Charles DeMore, special agent in charge of the ICE office of investigations in San Francisco. “Unfortunately, the advent of new technologies like the Internet has increased the accessibility of child pornography. But this has only intensified our resolve to pursue those who victimize the most vulnerable among us.”
According to the Newark Police Department, all of the families from the day care center’s client list dating back to 2002 have been contacted and interviewed. The Newark Police Department advises that there have been no reports or evidence of any additional crimes or molestation. If the public has additional information regarding the local facets of this investigation, they should contact Detective Sergeant Renny Lawson with the Newark Police Department at (510) 790-7247.
The defendant is being held in custody following his arraignment on the criminal complaint. The defendant’s next court appearance is scheduled for December 11, 2006, at 10 a.m. before Magistrate Judge Brazil in Oakland.
The maximum statutory penalty for receipt of child pornography, in violation of 18 U.S.C. Section 2252 (a)(2)(A) and (B), is imprisonment for 20 years, a fine of $250,000, and three years of supervised release. However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.
A criminal complaint contains only allegations against an individual and, as with all defendants, Mr. Aflatooni must be presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
This investigation is being conducted under the auspices of the Department of Justice’s Project Safe Childhood initiative and ICE’s Operation Predator. Both initiatives target those who prey on and exploit children, including Internet pornographers, international sex tourists, and human traffickers.
Vineet Gauri and Michelle Morgan-Kelly are the Assistant U.S. Attorneys who are prosecuting the case with the assistance of legal technicians Margaret Glyer and Cynthia Daniel.
A copy of this press release may be found on the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s website at www.usdoj.gov/usao/can.
Electronic court filings and further procedural and docket information are available at https://ecf.cand.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/login.pl.
Judges’ calendars with schedules for upcoming court hearings can be viewed on the court’s website at www.cand.uscourts.gov.
All press inquiries to the U.S. Attorney’s Office should be directed to Luke Macaulay at (415) 436-6757 or by email at [email protected]