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U.S. porn sting nets man in Howland



Published: Mon, February 9, 2009 @ 12:10 a.m.

By Patricia Meade

An Army veteran who used a computer to send illegal images of children got a nine-year prison sentence.

YOUNGSTOWN — An undercover FBI agent trolling online chat rooms received child pornography from a computer Richard Bozmoff used in Howland Township — and one he used when stationed in the Middle East as an Army contractor.

Bozmoff, 42, is in the Mahoning County jail pending transfer to a federal prison. He reached a plea agreement with the government and pleaded guilty to using a computer and the Internet to transport visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. He was sentenced to nine years in prison, followed by five years’ supervised release, and he must register as a sex offender.

FBI Special Agent Steven Forest, working undercover from his Buffalo, N.Y., field office, began the online investigation in September 2005. The case, which nabbed a dozen men, was part of a nationwide initiative dubbed Project Safe Childhood to protect kids from online exploitation and abuse.

Forest sent several messages Sept. 6, 2005, in a chat room entitled “LuvF8 9 10 11 12,” indicating that he had videos to trade. He received an e-mail from a person with the AOL screen name KSENIYABOZ that had a video file depicting a preteen girl engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

The agent then initiated an instant message with the sender, who turned out to be Bozmoff, and discussed trading images of preteen children engaged in sexual activity.

Video files Forest sent to Bozmoff were intentionally corrupted so that the recipient could not open them, according to the agent’s affidavit. Bozmoff sent more videos that same afternoon, including one that depicted a man and preteen girl having sex.

Forest then served a subpoena on AOL to obtain subscriber information and got Bozmoff’s name, Overland Avenue address, phone number, screen names and credit card information. Between Sept. 4 and Sept. 13, more than 80 videos or still photos depicting child pornography were sent from KSENIYABOZ.

The videos featured a variety of sexual situations — a woman with a young girl; a man and a young girl in a car; a man with a child who appears to be under 3 years of age; and a man having sex with a preteen girl wearing a tutu and eating a lollipop.

The agent learned that Bozmoff left the United States for the United Arab Emirates on July 29, 2005, and returned that November. In 2001, after 17 years with the Army, Bozmoff began working for the Department of Defense as an independent contractor performing security work primarily in the Middle East.

In a court filing before sentencing, Bozmoff’s lawyers — one in Youngstown and one in Buffalo — acknowledged that while he was in the Middle East the recipient of the child pornography he sent from overseas turned out to be the agent. The lawyers asked that his “exemplary military career,” the well being of his children and his family’s ability to function in his absence be considered in the sentence. His family, a wife and two children, resides in Maryland.

The lawyers said it was important to note that Bozmoff did not create or take part in creation of the pornography. They said he “has been a model citizen all his life, worked hard and paid his taxes and is raising two children with his wife.”

The government responded that the consumer of sexual images, such as Bozmoff, causes children of pornographic abuse to suffer through the dissemination of the material.

When Bozmoff returned to the United States, FBI agents from the bureau’s Boardman office interviewed him Nov. 28, 2005. He denied transmitting child pornography but admitted that the laptop at his Howland home had more than 500 still images and 50 videos of child pornography on it. He said the computer was the one he used when he traveled in and out of the country. His computer equipment was seized and forfeited.

Bozmoff was arrested Nov. 30, 2005, on a warrant issued in New York, made his initial appearance in Youngstown federal court and posted a $20,000 bond. The case continued in Buffalo federal court, where he eventually reached a plea agreement.

He was sentenced in late August.

meade@vindy.com


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