A Virginia man allegedly watermarked child pornography that he produced with his screen name and a copyright notice, The Virginian-Pilot is reporting.
Dashawn Webster, 22, was arrested last week after allegedly confessing to a federal investigator.
Webster came to the attention of investigators from both Interpol (the international police cooperation organization) and the Department of Homeland Security’s Boston division. It appears that investigators learned of Webster while investigating another case.
In the initial case, investigators were trying to track down users who distributed child pornography on various “unspecified” websites when they focused on their original suspect. Among the evidence taken from the first suspect’s home was a thumb drive which contained a folder of images bearing a name. Inside that folder were 17 images of an adult man – allegedly Webster – engaging in sexual acts with a prepubescent boy. According to WTKR-TV (Norfolk), the boy was 2-years-old. The pictures appeared to be “homemade,” according to investigators.
What’s more, they all bore watermarks of the same screen name and the word “Copyright.”
Further investigation led to five videos of a man engaging in sexual acts with a young boy. It is not clear if those videos are tied to Webster, or if they bore his watermarks.
Doing some detective work with the help of Webster’s internet provider, Cox Communications, investigators tied those screen names to Webster’s account. Authorities then tracked him down at his home.
Conducting what police are calling a “ruse interview,” an agent went to Webster’s home and allegedly observed him babysitting two young boys. During the interview, Webster allegedly confessed to making the pornographic images. He was arrested and taken to jail.
Authorities searched his home and found multiple other images and videos of child pornography on his electronic devices.
DaShawn Webster is not the first person allegedly involved in child pornography who failed to think things through. In its weekly “Dumb Criminal Of The Week” column, Slate reported in 2012 about an FBI recruit who admitted to possessing and even creating child porn during his job interview.
While interviewing for an unspecified job with the bureau, Dominick Pelletier apparently wanted to impress his would-be bosses, so he told them that he “researched” child porn as part of graduate school research project. Then, apparently in a bid to impress them further, he revealed to agents that he had child porn on his computer, some of which “might be” hardcore, and some of which he “accidentally” produced himself while filming himself having sex with an underage girl.
Needless to say, Pelletier didn’t get the job and got an 80-month prison sentence instead.