Internet child pornographer gets 35 years

Virginia man caught posting home digital pictures of schoolgirl on Web

An Internet paedophile was sentenced Thursday to 35 years in jail for the live broadcast of pornographic images of a schoolgirl over the Web.

The Virginia man, Robert Israel Troncoso, pleaded guilty to producing over 300 online sex sessions with a 14-year-old girl and transmitting them across state lines on the Internet.

Troncoso disseminated the pornographic pictures through the Web site iFriends, which serves as a platform for chatroom hosts and subscribers. The court heard how he made money from providing the pictures to the site, which in turn charged customers for the service.

The issue of child pornography on the Net resurfaced in the UK this month when seven British men pleaded guilty to their involvement in the world's biggest Internet pornography ring, "The Wonderland Club". One hundred eighty men were arrested worldwide on 2 September 1998 after a massive international police raid, codenamed Operation Cathedral.

"I think he's extremely remorseful and ashamed of what he did, and he's trying to do the right thing," Troncoso's lawyer Gregory Phillips said in a statement.

Under US Federal law, Troncoso faces up to 35 years imprisonment, with a mandatory minimum of 10 years, and fines of up to £340,000. UK legislation dealing with child pornography was amended a week ago to increase the sentence for Net paedophiles.

The Child Protection Act now states that the sentence for possession of illegal Internet content rose from six months to five years, whilst the penalty for distributing pornographic or paedophile content increased from three years to ten years.

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