December 14, 2012

Suspect in child porn case enters not-guilty plea

Daniel Cobb of South Carolina is charged with sharing pornographic images online with a man from Portland.

By Scott Dolan sdolan@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

PORTLAND - A South Carolina man who is accused of photographing pornographic images of children and sharing them online with a man in Maine pleaded not guilty Thursday in U.S. District Court.

Daniel Cobb, 37, of Rock Hill, S.C., was arrested at his home on Nov. 14 after investigators tracked him down through an email address he used for correspondence related to child pornography, according to court records.

Cobb allegedly sent explicit images of his friend's daughters, who are now 7 and 9 years old, to David Muise Jr., 26, of 141 Cumberland Ave. in Portland.

Muise was arrested on federal charges Oct. 12, court records show.

Authorities say the men had been corresponding since April by using Yahoo! Messenger to discuss and share child pornography.

Cobb was arraigned Thursday before U.S. Magistrate Judge John Rich III on charges of sexual exploitation of a minor, which carries a sentence of 15 to 30 years in prison, and transportation of child pornography, punishable by five to 20 years in prison.

Cobb, with a tan prison uniform and a groomed beard and mustache, answered all of Rich's questions in a clear voice, addressing him as "your honor" each time.

Cobb, accompanied by defense attorney Stephen Brochu, agreed to be held in custody until his trial.

The investigation of Muise and Cobb began in late September. Portland police were contacted by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, who had been told by Muise's girlfriend in Vancouver that he had sent her explicit nude pictures of himself with a 5-year-old girl, according to an FBI agent's affidavit filed in Muise's case.

Muise's girlfriend told Canadian police that she recognized the girl in the photo.

Portland police searched Muise's apartment on Cumberland Avenue on Sept. 28. They seized a cellphone containing 63 digital images created from June 10 to Sept. 8 containing child pornography that apparently was produced by Muise, the FBI affidavit says.

Authorities began investigating Cobb after finding 109 digital pictures on a computer hard drive that was seized in the search of Muise's apartment. The pornographic images show two pre-pubescent girls, and many also show a man's body, according to a separate affidavit in Cobb's file, by an agent with Homeland Security Investigations.

Authorities in South Carolina arrested Cobb after allegedly linking the images on Muise's computer to Cobb's email address and conducting surveillance at Cobb's home, the second affidavit says.

Muise is charged with one count of sexual exploitation of a minor. He made his initial appearance in federal court on Oct. 15 and remains in custody.

The cases against Cobb and Muise are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig Wolff. Cobb's next court date is Dec. 27, and his case is tentatively set for trial in February.

Staff Writer Scott Dolan can be contacted at 791-6304 or at:

sdolan@mainetoday.com

 

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