Youth ref pleads guilty to child porn
The Kapolei resident admitted to sharing child porn online
An assistant referee for a boys soccer league pleaded guilty yesterday in federal court to a child pornography charge filed as part of an international Homeland Security Internet undercover investigation.
Giovanni L. Canapino, a college student living with his parents in Kapolei, entered the plea before U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry Kurren.
Canapino faces a maximum term of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine when he is sentenced by U.S. District Judge Michael Seabright at 1 p.m. May 14.
Canapino was one of 27 people -- 13 in the United States -- who were charged last March for processing, receiving, distributing and manufacturing child pornography. Fourteen others were charged in Australia, Canada and Britain.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Larry Tong said yesterday at Canapino's hearing that the investigation began in Chicago and was conducted by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Child Exploitation/Cyber Crimes Division of the Department of Homeland Security.
The results of the 10-month investigation was announced by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales in March 2006.
Canapino told Kurren that in March 2006, he downloaded onto his computer images that he knew were child pornography.
"I knew it was illegal," said Canapino.
Tong said 3,000 still images and 100 videos were seized from Canapino's Kapolei home. Federal agents seized Canapino's computer hard drive and CDs with images depicting child pornography.
After his arrest, Canapino admitted to visiting the WinMx chat room called "kiddypics & kiddyvids" to obtain and share child pornography.
Undercover investigators monitoring the WinMx chat room in January 2006 learned that a person using the screen name "Geograns 763" was sharing files whose titles suggested child pornography and the account was traced to Canapino's family.
Canapino admitted to using the chat room. After refereeing a boys' soccer game in March 2006, he posted a message saying he was "horny as hell" and that he wanted to have oral sex with the boys.
Government lawyers also argued that a "disturbing feature" of the chat room was that it featured live broadcasts of adult moderators sexually molesting children, and participants like Canapino were viewing them.