A British man has been arrested following an investigation by the FBI into child abuse and the dark web.
As part of a worldwide probe into illegal online activities, law enforcement officers in the US accessed the servers of an internet forum called Playpen.
Whilst monitoring the site, on which users can access and exchange child abuse images, FBI officers acquired the IP address of someone using the site in Houghton-le-Spring, Sunderland. The address was passed on to the UK’s National Crime Agency, who seized three computers from Steven Archer’s grandmother’s home in the town.
31 year old Archer originally denied any wrongdoing, leading to prosecutors spending more than £5,000 in preparation for the case – including sending computer experts to Newcastle from various parts in the UK.
However, after an interrogation of the three machines seized, it became apparent that Archer was indeed the user in Houghton who had been accessing the illicit site. Police found that the 31 year old had used the site for a total of ten hours and five minutes, during which time he had accessed a total of 964 images on the site.
During the police investigation it was found that of the 964 images Archer had accessed, only one remained on his computer – the rest had been deleted. It was also found after examining his computers that Archer had deliberately searched for images of child abuse.
Despite his initial denial, on the day of the trial Archer pleaded guilty to two charges of making indecent images of children.
Steven Archer was sentenced to 11 months imprisonment, suspended for two years, at Newcastle Crown Court.
Mr Recorder Euan Duff also outlined rehabilitation requirements and a sex offender treatment programme Archer must attend, as well as ordering him to sign the sex offenders register and abide by a sexual harm prevention order for five years.
The paedophile was ordered to pay £3,000 in costs.
Sexual abuse claims – expert advice
If you have been affected by any instance of physical sexual abuse or by any instance of non-physical sexual abuse, contact us today. We offer expert advice on sexual abuse claims, and we guarantee your confidentiality at all times. For further information, and to discover how we could help you, begin a conversation with our experienced and friendly team. Call 0800 888 6 888 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Source: Sunderland Echo