Online smut peddler takes guilty plea

A Washington, D.C., man is facing up to 30 years in prison after pleading guilty to federal charges of using the Internet to distribute and receive child pornography.

In a Friday afternoon plea deal, Bruce Schiffer, 34, admitted to one count each of using his computer to advertise, transport, receive and possess child pornography. The minimum sentence is 15 years with a maximum prison term of 30 years.

According to the FBI, Schiffer advertised his collection of approximately 11,000 images and movies of child pornography and erotic depictions of children on Internet relay chat (IRC) channels, including the "100%preteenboysexpics" channel.

"Pedophiles who think the Internet is a safe haven for the sexual exploitation of children are dead wrong," Assistant Attorney General Alice Fisher said in a statement. "We will find and punish those who prey on our nation's youth."

During a raid on Schiffer's home in June, authorities seized several computers; a large quantity of storage media, including videotapes, CDs, DVDs and floppy disks; and a clown suit.

Federal agents also found two boxes of catalogued correspondence between Schiffer and roughly 160 prison inmates, the vast majority of whom had either sexually assaulted or murdered children.

"It is chilling to consider the number of young children who were exploited and degraded in the production of the obscene images on the defendant's file server," said U.S. Attorney Kenneth Wainstein.

The indictment and guilty plea were the result of an investigation by the FBI, the Pennsylvania State Police, the High Tech Investigative Unit of the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section at the Department of Justice's Criminal Division and the U.S. Attorneys' Office for the District of Columbia.

Under the federal sentencing guidelines, Schiffer faces a likely sentence of 262 to 327 months in prison. The government is also seeking the forfeiture of the computer equipment allegedly used to commit these crimes. Sentencing is set for Feb. 9.

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