Man sentenced to 20 years for child porn acts

Posted: February 21, 2014

The Winchester Star

Brian Patrick Aronhalt

HARRISONBURG — A Frederick County man and self-proclaimed “boy lover” will serve 20 years in prison for enticing minors to perform sexual acts and then exploiting them.

Brian Patrick Aronhalt, 33, was sentenced Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Harrisonburg.

He pleaded guilty in August to one count of conspiracy to produce child pornography, one count of enticing minors to engage in sexually explicit conduct, four counts of producing child pornography, one count of possession of child pornography and one count of distributing child pornography.

In addition to 20 years in federal prison, Aronhalt must serve on supervised probation for life.

“Mr. Aronhalt used deception to repeatedly abuse children,” said United States Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy in a Friday media release. “His case serves as a grim reminder for parents to monitor what their children are doing online.

“Those of us who work in law enforcement will continue to pursue and prosecute predators like Mr. Aronhalt. We won’t be successful, however, unless parents acknowledge the threat and take steps to help their children stay safe online.”

Aronhalt — who was operating as “New guy 543” on a peer-to-peer file-sharing network — was investigated for months by undercover police agents.

While in Frederick County, he lived on Sorrel Lane.

During the investigation, police found that he had more than 12,000 images and videos available for sharing — “the majority of which appeared to be child pornography or had file names indicative of child pornography.”

He also was found to have been using video chat websites to entice boys to perform sexual acts in front of webcams, according to the original complaint.

A factual basis in the case states that Aronhalt coerced 19 minor boys — many appearing to be between the ages of 11 and 15 — to masturbate in front of their webcams and stream the live images to him.

It states that he posed as a minor female and used the alias “leslie.orslo.” He used various video chat software, including Skype, omegle.com and chatroulette.com, the court document states.

While the minors were engaged in sexually explicit conduct, Aronhalt would use video recording software to capture the images so they could be viewed at later times.

The defendant learned from others online how to use a sexually explicit video of a female to appear as a live webcast to the minor boys.

Evidence also showed that the defendant’s collection of self-produced webcam videos depicted at least 100 minors, according to Friday’s media release.

Aronhalt was arrested Sept. 7 after FBI agents and members of the Northern Virginia-D.C. Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force executed a search warrant at his home.

During the execution of that warrant, police found thousands of images depicting child pornography on Aronhalt’s computers and a document entitled “Hand Book 4 Child Lovers.docx,” according to court documents.

“Aronhalt stated that he is a ‘boy lover’ and acknowledged his involvement in a number of boy lover groups,” court documents state. “Aronhalt stated that he has traveled to other states to visit boy lovers who he had met via the World Wide Web.”

— Contact Melissa Boughton at mboughton@winchesterstar.com