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North County Educator Pleads Guilty to Child Porn Distribution

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A North County man who worked as a teacher's aide, substitute teacher and youth hockey coach pleaded guilty this week to a federal count of child pornography distribution.

Daniel Dasko was arrested last year after federal authorities said he exchanged child pornography online with two people, one of whom was a Philadelphia-area teacher.

Dasko pleaded guilty Tuesday in San Diego federal court and is slated for sentencing in July.

His plea agreement states he distributed a sexually explicit video involving a teenage boy and also gave another person ``the online contact information for minors'' that he knew the other person would use ``to persuade the minors to produce child pornographic images and videos.''

The U.S. Attorney's Office alleges the defendants posed as women or girls on social media sites in order to bait minor male victims into sending them nude photos or videos.

According to Dasko's criminal complaint, an FBI agent wrote that the Philadelphia-area teacher and a person in New York described only as ``Alex'' worked to trick the teacher's own middle school students into sharing such content. The Philadelphia teacher and ``Alex'' were later arrested and charged, according to the complaint.

The complaint said investigators continued their review of the communications on the social media application in order to identify additional targets. One of those targets, using the name “Mr. Pickles,” was communicating with the Philadelphia subject from at least October 3, 2020 to October 3, 2021, during which time they exchanged over 3,671 messages, to include numerous of image and video files.

According to the complaint, the majority of these messages were conversations about sexually exploiting children they knew or met online. The complaint contains excerpts of some of the sexually-explicit electronic communications between the Philadelphia subject and Mr. Pickles in which they discuss their attraction to young boys.

Based on the investigation, the FBI believed Dasko was Mr. Pickles and obtained federal search warrants to search Dasko’s San Diego residence and person for child exploitation crimes. On July 13, 2022, those were executed. Following the advisal and waiver of his Miranda rights, Dasko agreed to speak with agents about his online activities. He admitted he was Mr. Pickles and the user of the social media account.

Victims or anyone with information about this case is encouraged to call the FBI San Diego Field Office at 858-320-1800 or submit a tip at tips.fbi.gov. Tips can be anonymous.

“There is nothing more important than keeping our children safe from sexual abuse and exploitation,” said U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman. “Social media makes this a very challenging endeavor, but we will do everything in our power to protect kids from online predators who use technology to target and trick them.” Grossman thanked the prosecution team and the FBI for their excellent work in this case.

“Our children should be protected, not preyed upon,” said Stacey Moy, special agent in charge of the FBI San Diego Field Office. “Crimes against children remain a priority for the FBI. We will continue to aggressively investigate any matter where persons prey on our children, and work with our partners to get these predators removed from our community.”

Copyright 2023, City News Service, Inc.

 

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