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Butte County man arrested in international child porn probe

By Kelli Saam
Published On: Dec 05 2013 10:53:48 AM CST
Updated On: Dec 05 2013 01:00:43 PM CST
Generic: Arrest Handcuffs

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PARADISE, Calif. -

A Butte County man has  been arrested on child pornography charges and the investigation started halfway around the world.

Homeland Security investigators said Bret Nichols, 29 of Paradise, was originally investigated by police in Denmark in 2011 for allegedly watching a graphic video live on Skype.   The video showed a Florida mother molesting her two children, ages four and five.

Nichols' home in Paradise was searched on Nov. 13. Authorities said they found videos that were shot looking up women's skirts.  The videos had been shot at several locations including Nichols' workplace at Butte County Superior Court and at various businesses, including Wal-Mart.

Nichols was arrested this week and is in custody in Sacramento County Jail on suspicion of producing and conspiring to produce images of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct, receiving or distributing any visual depiction of child pornography, and possession of visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

Homeland Security and the Department of Justice's child exploitation unit tracked down Nichols through the the Skype feed video to a woman the suspect later said he knew as "Dusty" and the victim, her daughter, in Florida.

In December 2012, Dusty was interviewed and told authorities her husband had obtained a job for her with MyFreeWebCams.com. According to the affidavit, she admitted to performing sexual acts with her young daughter by request, including for a person with the screen name MOOGLE.PHIN.

MOOGLE.PHIN and NAUGHTYBAD42, another "client" who deposited amounts from $20.78 to $259.74 numerous times via PayPal and to Dusty's Payoneer prepaid debit account were traced to Nichols.

A sample of deposits ranged from November 2011 through September 2012. The affidavit also cited an electronic record recovered from Dusty's computer of what is believed to be a live chat in November 2011 between the suspect and Dusty regarding what he wanted her to do sexually to her daughter.