Man charged with rap­ing daugh­ter, post­ing video

The Bradenton Herald - - Local - BY JES­SICA DE LEON jdeleon@braden­ You can fol­low Jes­sica De Leon on Twit­ter @JDeLeon1012.

A Braden­ton man is fac­ing fed­eral and state charges af­ter a Home­land Se­cu­rity oper­a­tion found he had posted a video of him rap­ing his two-yearold daugh­ter on the dark web, ac­cord­ing to a fed­eral in­dict­ment.

James Lock­hart, 30, was ar­rested on Oct. 5 af­ter agents searched his Braden­ton home and found child pornog­ra­phy on his com­puter, in­clud­ing at least 10 im­ages that de­picted tod­dlers, ac­cord­ing to au­thor­i­ties. He was later in­dicted on fed­eral pro­duc­tion and pos­ses­sion of child pornog­ra­phy charges.

Lock­hart is cur­rently be­ing held with­out bond in fed­eral cus­tody at the Pinel­las County jail.

His daugh­ter and son, the girl’s twin, were placed in pro­tec­tive cus­tody on the same day their fa­ther was ar­rested.

Lock­hart, a li­censed para­medic, was a para­medic and su­per­vi­sor em­ployed by Paramedics Lo­gis­tics Florida, the par­ent com­pany of Sunstar Paramedics, a pri­vate am­bu­lance com­pany in Pinel­las County, since 2012. He was ter­mi­nated in early Oc­to­ber, ac­cord­ing to Sunstar Chief Op­er­at­ing Of­fi­cer John Peter­son.

At the time he was hired, Lock­hart had been cleared of any crim­i­nal his­tory af­ter un­der­go­ing a back­ground check.

“We are fully co­op­er­at­ing with the fed­eral and lo­cal law en­force­ment agen­cies in their in­ves­ti­ga­tion. Law en­force­ment has not in­di­cated that pa­tients were in­volved,” Peter­son said. “If law en­force­ment indi­cates that pa­tients were in­volved, we will make no­ti­fi­ca­tions in co­or­di­na­tion with law en­force­ment.”

Home­land Se­cu­rity found the video af­ter launch­ing an in­ves­ti­ga­tion, dubbed “Oper­a­tion Test Pi­lot,” dur­ing which agents in­fil­trated high-level child pornog­ra­phy rings and web­sites. Agents have iden­ti­fied mul­ti­ple sus­pects be­lieved to be liv­ing in and out of the United States, ac­cord­ing to the in­dict­ment.

The dark web refers to a col­lec­tion of web­sites that ex­ist on an en­crypted net­work and can­not be found us­ing tra­di­tional web browsers, ac­cord­ing to Tech Ad­vi­sor, a web­site that pro­vides ad­vice about con­sumer tech­nol­ogy.

Agents based in Bos­ton work­ing with for­eign law en­force­ment be­gan in­ves­ti­gat­ing videos, pho­tos, fo­rum posts and mes­sages on the dark web left by some­one us­ing the screen names “StrangeWood” and “Hard­Wood,” ac­cord­ing to the in­dict­ment. Those screen names would even­tu­ally lead them to Lock­hart.

A nearly 8-minute-long video of Lock­hart rap­ing his daugh­ter was posted about a year ago by screen name “StrangeWood,” ac­cord­ing to the in­dict­ment.

The in­dict­ment goes into graphic de­tail of how the tod­dler was sex­u­ally abused re­peat­edly. In ad­di­tion to other child pornog­ra­phy, agents de­tail com­ments made by “StrangeWood” on the dark web in which he de­tails his novice ex­pe­ri­ences with a girl and boy. He promised fu­ture post­ings and asked for sug­ges­tions, ac­cord­ing to the in­dict­ment.

In Septem­ber of this year, agents were able to trace “StrangeWood” through Kik Mes­sen­ger, a mes­sag­ing app, and then traced the IP ad­dress that Kik ac­count was us­ing to Lock­hart. On Oct. 4, agents ob­tained a fed­eral search war­rant for Lock­hart’s home in West Braden­ton.

When Home­land Se­cu­rity agents showed up at Lock­hart’s home just af­ter 11 p.m. the next day, Lock­hart’s wife and their chil­dren were home. Lock­hart’s wife, who will­ingly spoke with agents, was shown im­ages taken from the video with the tod­dler’s face blurred out but she in­stantly and with­out hes­i­ta­tion rec­og­nized her daugh­ter, her hus­band’s hand, their couch and her daugh­ter’s stuffed an­i­mal, ac­cord­ing to the in­dict­ment.

Agents also com­pared the image of the hand in the video to Lock­hart’s hand. They an­a­lyzed the in­den­ta­tion left by his wed­ding ring and the mole con­cealed by the ring, and de­ter­mined it was the same hand. Sam­ples of Lock­hart’s hand­writ­ing found around the home were also com­pared to a hand­writ­ten sign seen in the video. Agents said there sim­i­lar­i­ties, ac­cord­ing to the in­dict­ment.

Ac­cord­ing to the Manatee County Sher­iff’s Of­fice, Lock­hart is fac­ing nu­mer­ous charges at the state and fed­eral lev­els. The sher­iff’s of­fice is work­ing with Home­land Se­cu­rity to in­ves­ti­gate Lock­hart fur­ther and de­ter­mine which charges will be filed at which level.

The sher­iff’s of­fice said Lock­hart could face a charge of cap­i­tal sex­ual bat­tery, among other state charges.

James Lock­hart

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