Family members shocked by child porn allegations in St. Tammany - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Family members shocked by child porn allegations in St. Tammany

Updated:

ST. TAMMANY PARISH, LA (WVUE) - Federal prosecutors arrest a man from just outside Abita Springs for running international child porn websites.

The man's family said they're shocked by the allegations. The family members who spoke to FOX 8 asked to remain anonymous.

Prosecutors said Jonathan Johnson, 27, was the architect of a digital child exploitation enterprise that routinely preyed upon young boys, producing and distributing pornographic videos of minors and coaching others on strategies to coerce underage boys into participating in sexual acts.

"He never seemed like he would have been a sick type of person," a family member said. "He was caring, took care of his parents."

The U.S. Attorney's office says Johnson operated an international child exploitation enterprise right out of his St. Tammany Parish home.

"It's more than I would have ever expected," a family member said.

According to court documents, prosecutors said Johnson operated two websites that allowed members to upload and share sexually explicit videos of minor boys.

The websites also allegedly provided tutorials on how to coerce minors into performing and recording sexual acts and how to evade law enforcement.

"I don't believe half the stuff I heard, all these members, and that. There's no way. He would have had some super computers or something like that, and I don't think he was working at the time. He kinda had a junky computer," a family member said.

Documents provided by the U.S. Attorney's office said they confiscated a Acer laptop computer, a Cyber Power PC tower, a Apevia tower, a Seagate 3TB external hard drive, a Western Digital external hard drive, a Samsung tablet computer and a Samsung cell phone.

Prosecutors said the websites had 27,000 members from across the world sharing 2, 000 sexually explicit videos of minor boys. The U.S. Attorneys Office said 160 victims have been identified and/or rescued by law enforcement.

"This guy is going to be looked at as a monster. Anybody who does that is not going to have any sympathy from any judge or jury or any prosecutor," said FOX 8 legal analyst Joe Raspanti.

"The only thing he told me was that he never had contact with anybody, that he never was with children or whatever they're trying to say," said a family member.

Looking back, family members say Johnson spent an incredible amount of time on his computer through all hours of the night. Family members told FOX 8 they found it strange that Johnson received gifts such as a popcorn machine, an ice cream maker, Armani clothing and gift cards. Family members said all of the gifts were delivered in packages with no return addresses.

The one thing family members say he didn't seem to have, however, was money.

"Twenty-seven thousand [members]? If that was the case, where was the money?" a family member asked.

Jonathan Johnson is scheduled for his first court appearance on Feb. 24.

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