A man wanted for federal child pornography crimes has been arrested in Georgia with help from some determined investigators at the Maine State Police Computer Crimes Unit.
“I’ve been with the state police since ’89 and I’ve never been involved in anything like this,” Maine State Police Sgt. Glenn Lang said Wednesday. Lang has been supervisor of the unit since 2001.
On May 23, the FBI sent out a flier asking for assistance in finding a man who was creating and posting videos on the Internet of himself having sex with a young girl. That’s when Maine agencies became involved in searching for the suspect.
The FBI had been working on the case since 2006 after receiving complaints from authorities in Brisbane, Australia, according to an FBI affidavit provided Wednesday to the Bangor Daily News by a reporter at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Law enforcement officials in Australia were investigating a group with about 50 members, some of whom were believed to be in the United States, that was suspected of trading and disseminating child pornography over the Internet.
Australian authorities said the information they had gathered indicated that the man making the videos found online might be living in the United States.
As a result of the work by Maine State Police, James Bartholomew “Bart” Huskey, 38, was arrested Monday at his home in LaFayette, Ga.
After reviewing some of the videos, certified computer forensic examiner Dawn Ego of the Maine State Police was able to identify the manufacturer of some of the bedding in one piece of footage.
“We hit pay dirt right off the bat,” Lang said.
Ego traced the bedding back to the manufacturer, the distributor and the locations it was distributed.
“She was like a pit bull on this thing,” Lang said. “She just went after it with a tenacity like you rarely see.”
Ego contacted the Jameson Inn in Carrollton, Ga., where the sheets ended up, and discovered that a room was reserved in Huskey’s name on July 21, 2007 – the date of the recording.
Other items isolated in the videos, including a 2005 Pontiac Aztek, also were traced back to Huskey. One of the videos posted online is believed to have been filmed in that make and model car, one of which also happens to be registered to Sherri Ann Huskey. Her relationship to James Huskey isn’t being released, but they reportedly share an address.
“It was a whirlwind here for three weeks and it culminated when we were able to say, ‘This is your guy,'” Lang said.
Once under arrest, Huskey confessed to the assaults and after being identified and contacted, the victim confirmed that Huskey had been raping her for four years, starting when she was 5 years old. The girl is now 9.
“This defendant allegedly produced a notorious series of images of child sexual abuse that have circulated around the world, with demand from the most hard-core and despicable child porn consumers,” David E. Nahmias, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, stated in a press release Tuesday.
The relationship between Huskey and his victim isn’t being released, but they were found together, according to Lang.
The victim is in custody and federal officials are continuing to investigate.
Huskey is facing charges of manufacturing child pornography and uploading it to the Internet. He admitted to having “several thousand images of [the victim’s] molestation and several hundred videos of sexual molestation on an external hard drive connected to his desktop computer,” according to the affidavit.
Huskey appeared in federal court in Atlanta on Tuesday and admitted to the assaults, threats, and posting the online videos, referred to as the “Tara” series, that showed himself with a child much smaller than himself.
In the article, Huskey is described as being slightly over 6 feet tall and weighing about 250 pounds. His face reportedly was pixilated in the videos, and one posting showed him holding a large knife against the girl.
“Normally, we’re a reactive unit. We look at computers and media that people bring to us … or we’re doing an investigation of the dissemination of child pornography,” Lang said. “The feeling is extraordinary to be involved in that aspect of this type of work to actually be able to impact one of the children that we see in these images all the time. Having an impact on the national stage is something.”
The Maine State Police Computer Crimes Unit began in 1999 as the computer crimes task force. The unit now is partially funded by the state and through a grant from the Department of Justice under its Internet Crimes Against Children initiative, Lang said.
In this particular case, the state police worked with the U.S. Attorney General’s Office in Bangor, the Department of Education, the state police intelligence division, and federal officials.
He added that although this particular case didn’t occur here, Maine isn’t immune from the issue of child pornography and solicitation.
“This is a problem right here and now,” Lang said. “This case didn’t happen to [occur in] Maine, but it could have.”
As for the case, Lang said it was rewarding to be able to find the victim as well.
“It was a huge effort and one I’d go through in the blink of an eye again,” Lang said. “Often the victim is overlooked in these things because we’re so busy prosecuting the bad guy. … I just think it is so important that we get doing more of this.”