That's It? Man Known as World's ‘Largest Facilitator’ of Child Porn Gets 27 Years in Prison

A man who operated an anonymous web hosting service allowing pedophiles around the world to share millions of images of children being sexually abused, tortured and humiliated was sentenced to 27 years in prison Wednesday.

His sentencing came — eight years after he was arrested in Ireland.

via NYDN:

Eric Eoin Marques, who has been described as the kingpin of child pornography, hosted more than 200 websites on a dark web server that facilitated the distribution of about 8.5 million photos and videos of child sex abuse between 2008 and 2013, according to prosecutors. Some of the images depicted infants and toddlers being subjected to sadistic abuse, including bondage, bestiality, urination, defecation and vomit, federal authorities said.

Marques, a 36-year-old dual citizen of the U.S. and Ireland, was arrested in Dublin in August 2013 following a joint investigation by the FBI and Irish police. He then fought extradition for years before he was finally brought to the U.S. in March 2019. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to advertise child pornography a year later.

“Eric Marques was one of the largest facilitators of child pornography in the world,” said Jonathan Lenzner, acting U.S. attorney for the District of Maryland, where the case was prosecuted.

“This is an egregious case where one individual facilitated the abuse of more than a million new child victims and attempted to keep the abuse hidden on the dark web,” he said in a statement.

The FBI investigation began after agents discovered more than a million files from websites hosted on Marques’ Freedom Hosting server, which operated on an encrypted area of the internet that allows users to remain anonymous or untraceable.

Nearly all of those files contained images and videos of children engaged in sexually explicit conduct with adults or other kids, posing nude or in various state of undress, prosecutors said. Most of them involved prepubescent victims who were fully or partially naked or being sexually abused.

About 2 million of the images and videos uncovered during the investigation were not previously known by law enforcement, authorities said.

During his sentencing hearing, Marques expressed remorse and apologized to the victims, according to the Associated Press.

“I have destroyed my reputation and my family’s reputation. Please give me a second chance,” he told U.S. District Judge Theodore Chuang.

The judge said he would allow the U.S. Bureau of Prisons to give Marques credit for the eight years he’s spent behind bars since his arrest. The sentence will be followed by a lifetime term of supervised release.

“We are grateful to our law enforcement partners here and abroad for helping us to bring Eric Marques to justice,” Lenzner said. “We will continue to do everything we can to find and prosecute those who use the anonymity of the Internet to perpetuate the cruel and heartless business of the sexual abuse of children for personal gain, in order to keep our children safe.”

He should be in jail for the rest of his life.

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