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Georgia Man Sentenced for Darknet Child Porn Guides

A 28-year-old man from Gwinnett County, Georgia, operated a clearnet website where he hosted child pornography. He additionally wrote guides for other pedophiles on making use of the darknet to view, distribute, and discuss topics regarding child pornography, After less than one hour of deliberation, the jury convicted the defendant, Thomas Scot Edvalson, of 22 counts of sexual exploitation of children.

The case began years ago, during some unknown point in 2012. A GoDaddy employee tipped off the The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, an agency dedicated to the assistance of children. He explained that a subscriber’s website—one who used GoDaddy as a hosting service—displayed numerous pornographic images of children. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children passed the information on to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation quickly worked on locating the owner or at least registrant associated with the website. After investigators linked the website to an address in Gwinnett County, they forwarded the identifying information to the Gwinnett County Police Department. From there, the GCPD took control of the case. They also traced the IP address of the website to the physical address of the website`s owner. The house belonged to a much younger Thomas Scot Edvalson.

In September 2012, law enforcement raided the Edvalson Residence. Officers arrested the suspect and seized all electronic devices in his possession. They arrested the man and proceeded with analysis of his laptops and other storage media.

On April 24, 2013, a the Superior Court formally indicted Edvalson on four counts of sexual exploitation of children. The state released Edvalson on a $12,000 bond with tight, clear restrictions. Computers, smartphones, and internet enabled devices such as smart TVs or WiFi connected refrigerators were off limits. The judge denied him any unsupervised contact with individuals under the age of 16.

In November, 2014, the State filed an emergency bond revocation order. Investigators found him in direct violation of his first bond restriction. And the violation rode dangerously close to his initial charges; investigators discover that he actively participated in child “photography” website. The website had a designated “child erotica” sub-forum where law enforcement detected that Edvalson routinely posted content.

They arrested the man once again. Upon another search of his equipment, a certified forensic examiner discovered that in addition to posting stories and more darknet “how-to guides” to the extreme that even the website banned him, he possessed 161 child pornography images. They were independently confirmed and the Superior Court took further action. They refused to revoke his bond based on technicalities and potentially illegally obtained evidence; the detective failed to describe how he came across this information during a cross-examination hearing.

Fast forward to 2017 after the investigation ran a full course. In March, a jury found the Gwinnett County man guilty of 22 child pornography charges. Shortly thereafter, a Gwinnett County Judge sentenced Edvalson to 60-do-20. More specifically, the guilty party received a 60-year sentence with 20 years behind bars and 40 years on probation. All 60 years as a sex offender, of course. A sex offender for any remaining years in his life, even following completion of probation. Assuming he survives prison and 40 years on felony probation, he will still have a handful of years left in his life.

Even then, Georgia can violate probationers and have them incarcerated for technical violations. Judge George F. Hutchinson, III, after sentencing the man, concluded that “each time images of child pornography is shared on the internet, that child is being victimized again.”

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