- Agents found child pornography and photos of children who appeared to be dead on his computer
- Authorities have identified more than 140 child victims in seven countries
- Portway, pleaded guilty to soliciting the kidnapping of a child and to the distribution and possession of child pornography
A British man living in Massachusetts has pleaded guilty today to horrific crimes involving children and now faces deportation back to Britain after a sentence, under a plea agreement of between 18 and 27 years in prison.
Geoffrey Portway 40, had numerous chats with many individuals about a ‘mutual interest in abducting, raping, murdering, and eating children,’ said an agreed statement of facts released by the US attorney in Boston.
In July last year, federal agents searching Portway’s residence in Worcester, Massachusetts, discovered a locked dungeon in the basement of his home.
It contained a chair, television, and what appeared to be cable access to the Internet.
The room also contained a child-sized homemade coffin (with large speakers covering wire mesh at one end) with exterior locking devices, a steel cage (approximately 3′ wide, 2′high and 4′ long) with multiple locking devices, and a steel table top (with steel rings at six points, presumably for restraints).
Outside was a cabinet freezer, an upright freezer, disposable scalpels, butchering kits, and castration tools.
Many of these conversations were accompanied by the trading of child pornography.
These chats also included images of children known to them, accompanied by discussions of desire to sexually abuse, murder and cannibalize those children.
As stated both in court filings and at the hearing today, through his online chats, Portway solicited several people for their help in abducting a child, predominately from Michael Arnett of Kansas.
At least as early as 2010, Portway utilized Skype and other programs to communicate with Arnett, trading child pornography including images of injured, mutilated and deceased children while chatting about the sexual abuse, rape, abduction, murder, and cannibalism of children.
Over months, Portway repeatedly solicited Arnett to kidnap a child for him, with the intent that Portway would ultimately rape, kill and eat that child.
These solicitations for help in abducting a child included discussing real children, by name and photo, that Arnett claimed to know and have access. In the chats, Portway and Arnett discuss different ways to kidnap children and the age range that Portway prefers.
During the time that Portway was soliciting Arnett, Portway had been told that Arnett had helped others with such requests before and that
Arnett had experience with the abduction and sexual abuse of children. Arnett has since pleaded guilty in Kansas to the sexual exploitation of a child for the purposes of producing child pornography.
A forensic examination of the computers uncovered evidence of over 4,500 trades of child pornography between Portway and others.
Many of these trades involved Portway distributing child pornography to others based on their stated specific preferences, including images and videos appearing to depict dead children and the cannibalism of children.
‘Clearly, the facts of this case were quite disturbing and we are grateful law enforcement acted when they did,’ said United States Attorney Carmen Ortiz. ‘I hope that this case send a clear message that we will prosecute to the fullest extent of the law those who participate in these types of activities.
‘Even though criminals attempt to hide in the anonymity provided by the Internet, the Department of Justice is committed to aggressively pursuing them to ensure that there is no place to hide.’
‘An investigation that began in Milford in 2010 — expanded to Europe and beyond —has returned back to where it originally started: the Commonwealth of Massachusetts,’ said Bruce Foucart, special agent in charge of the Homeland Security Investigation in Boston.
‘Since we began this operation —Operation Holitna — a worldwide network of offenders has been, and continues to be,unraveled, including Portway.’ Foucart added,’Thanks to the determination of HSI, along with our partners at the
U.S. attorney’s office, we have been able to rescue 160 children and arrest 51 perpetrators worldwide. This was all as a result of the arrest of a Milford man, and subsequent advanced forensics of his digital media.
‘Portway’s guilty plea should serve as a stern warning to those inclined toabuse children or share images of child pornography: there isn’t a place in the United States, on yhe Internet, or the planet in which you are truly safe. We will investigate you, we will prosecute you and we will bring you to justice.”
Today’s guilty plea is part of Operation Holitna, an ongoing HSI-led investigation that originated in Boston. In 2010, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts and HSI Boston arrested Robert Diduca on child pornography production charges.
He was convicted and subsequently sentenced in June 2012. Forensic analysis of Diduca’s computer led investigators to the Netherlands where a Dutch national was arrested and charged with production, distribution and possession of child pornography, as well as the sexual assault of 87 minors.
Since that time, a worldwide network of offenders has been, and continues to be, unraveled, including today’s defendant. Defendants and victims continue to be identified around the world.