Sunday 24 September 2023

California teacher, hockey coach sentenced to 16 years in prison in 'Mr. Pickles' child sex abuse case

 A former teacher and youth hockey coach in Carlsbad, California was sentenced to almost 16 years in prison after he was found guilty on Tuesday for playing a role in baiting children into sending sexually explicit images and circulated them online.

Daniel Zachary Dasko, 32, reportedly pleaded guilty to one count relating to the distribution of images of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct back in April, per KSWB-TV. However, he is currently out on bond and was ordered to report to prison on October 3. 

Dasko apparently lured the minors into sharing explicit material by posing as adolescent girls on social media. It was only then that he would prompt them to send the illegal images.

“This defendant is a sexual predator who used his position as a teacher and coach to inform his sexual interests and to target kids for online abuse,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Andrew Haden. 

“His job was to educate and protect children. Instead, he exploited them. We will do everything in our power protect children and hold offenders accountable.”

Dasko was arrested in July 2022 after his alleged participation in spreading child sexual abuse material was discovered by the FBI during a separate investigation. The report noted that in July 2021, the FBI was alerted to someone who was uploading child sex abuse material. It was later revealed that the man responsible was a teacher in the Philadelphia area. 

A search warrant was subsequently issued to search the Philadelphia man's home. His iPhone revealed he was having discussions with others about child sex abuse material, which included talks of trading sexually explicit images amongst a group.

The Philadelphia teacher and others he was in contact with would apparently pose as young girls on social media sites to talk with the victims and then transfer those communications to a social media application that allowed the coconspirators to exchange them, per the report.

One of the people identified in this group went by the moniker "Mr. Pickles." Prosecutors said that Dasko waived his Miranda Rights after he was arrested and confessed he was behind the name.

It was later revealed that Dasko had exchanged more than 3,600 messages with the man in Philadelphia, including a number of images and videos depicting children being sexually abused.

The report noted that many of the discussions between Dasko and the Philadelphia man went into "graphic, disturbing detail," including their attraction to young boys and attempts to "catfish" them.

“Crimes involving sexually exploiting children are especially disgusting and disturbing,” FBI San Diego Special Agent in Charge Stacey Moy said. “I’m proud of the hard work conducted by our agents and law enforcement partners to bring these criminals to justice for their abhorrent behavior.”

Former hockey coach accused of sexual abuse gets bail

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