Porn perv tells feds he's guilty

During a tour held for the opening last week of the new regional cyber-crime lab in Clay County, Platte County Prosecutor Eric Zahnd, far right, looks over big-screen monitors in the lab's training room. Platte plans to pursue state charges that he sodomized 4-year-old daughter. A Buffalo, N.Y. man blew the whistle after finding his wife used their then 5-year-old son for pornography supplied to a Northland man. The hotline call started an investigation by Platte City Police Sgt. Dennis Trabue, the department's only investigator on the case, on Aug. 4, 2000.

By Jack "Miles" Ventimiglia, Editor
Sun-News of the Northland
[Posted on Thu, Jul. 17, 2003]

DURING A TOUR held for the opening last week of the new regional cyber-crime lab in Clay County, Platte County Prosecutor Eric Zahnd, far right, looks over big-screen monitors in the lab's training room. 

Platte plans to pursue state charges that he sodomized 4-year-old daughter. A Buffalo, N.Y. man blew the whistle after finding his wife used their then 5-year-old son for pornography supplied to a Northland man. 

The hotline call started an investigation by Platte City Police Sgt. Dennis Trabue, the department's only investigator on the case, on Aug. 4, 2000. 

"Her husband discovered some of the information on the computer in Buffalo and he then had enough information to know it was Platte City where the info was coming from and was concerned about some pictures he had observed on the computer in Buffalo," Trabue said. "I contacted the FBI in Buffalo. They went to the house and did recover the computer." 

The discovery led to the arrest of Andy M. Deuninck, 40, Platte City, and Jeanette Hegazy, 48, of Buffalo.

Deuninck exchanged pornography with Hegazy and others elsewhere using computers at his Platte City residence and at work at the Munson Army Health Center at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., Trabue said. The boy, it turned out, is not the only child victimized by Deuninck and others who commu-nicated with him, investigators discovered. 

"We worked long hours," Tra-bue said. 

U.S. Attorney Todd P. Graves for the Western District of Miss-ouri, and U.S. Attorney Eric F. Melgren for the District of Kansas, jointly said last week that Deuninck pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Kan., to one count of an indictment returned by a federal grand jury. 

Deuninck admitted he took pornographic photos of a 4-year-old girl between Dec. 25, 1999 and March 7, 2000, Graves said. 

Deuninck transported those images from Platte City to his office at the Munson Army Health Center, where he worked for Science Applications International Corp. Deuninck loaded the images onto his work computer, Graves said, and on March 6, 2002, transmitted them over the Internet from his work computer to a person in Brooklyn, N.Y. 

Deuninck also admitted that between Oct. 1, 1999 and June 1, 2000, he used a his work computer in Leavenworth to transmit over the Internet at least 20 images of minors engaging in sexually explicit and sometimes sadistic or masochistic conduct, Graves said 

The government took Deuninck into custody at the completion of the guilty plea hearing last week. He could be subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in federal prison without parole, up to 20 years in prison, plus a fine up to $250,000. 

A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office. 

The case helps define why the region is fortunate to have the Heart of America Regional Computer Forensic Laboratory in southern Clay County, Graves said following the lab's dedication last week. 

"That's a great example of cross-state cooperation," Graves said while touring the facility at 4150 Mulberry Drive. 

The Federal Bureau of Invest-igation, and police departments in Platte City, Kansas City and Brooklyn, N.Y investigated the Deuninck case. Graves' Missouri office prosecuted in cooperation with the U.S. Attorney's Office in Kansas. 

Other cities wanted the cyber-crime lab, but Kansas City got it because of its record of cooperation between law enforcers, said Thomas W. Richardson, FBI assistant director, investigative technology division. 

Graves began prosecuting the Deuninck case while serving as the Platte County prosecutor, a position he relinquished to take the position of U.S. attorney. While in the role of county prosecutor, he said, he found roadblocks to prosecution. 

"A Missouri subpoena is no good in New York," he said. "You've got to convince a judge it matters up there." 

In his role as a federal prosecutor, Graves said he found multi-state violations easier to pursue. Deuninck pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court last week to using computers in Platte City, and Leavenworth, Kan., to exchange pornography with people including a woman in Buffalo, N.Y. 

Assistant U.S. Attorney Dave Ketchmark said the FBI worked to recover information from computers Deuninck used. 

"We used the FBI's unit that has investigators that are going to be working here," Ketchmark said at the cyber-crime lab's dedication July 9. 

Part of the analysis involved a computer disk seized from the trunk of Deuninck's car. Images on the disk were positively matched to images taken off a computer in New York, Ketchmark said. 

The federal case against Deuninck is being prosecuted by Ketchmark and Assistant U.S. Attorney Katharine Fincham. 

Hegazy has been in federal custody since her arrest in August 2000, according to Graves' staff. She pleaded guilty in December 2000 to conspiracy to receive child pornography and awaits sentencing. 

Deuninck's trip through the legal system will include a return to Platte County to face a state charge, Platte County Prosecutor Eric Zahnd said. 

"It's scheduled for trial on Sept. 2 on the offense of statutory sodomy in the first degree," Zahnd said. 

Deuninck is accused of sodomizing his 4-year-old daughter. If found guilty, Deuninck faces a state prison term of 10 to 30 years, Zahnd said. 

Original Article on the Sun-News of the Northland Web Site ]