A Texan man serving 1,335 years in prison for selling child porn recorded a secret diary, a diary that remains online even though its author will see out his days behind bars at a US state penitentiary.
By Pip Clothier
Producer and director of Crash Of An Internet Porn King
Thomas Reedy was the architect of the child pornography empire that attracted a quarter of a million customers worldwide - among them the rock guitarist, Pete Townshend, who earlier this month was cautioned by police after he admitted to accessing the site.
Thomas Reedy made millions from his porn business
Despite the media furore thrown up by the Townshend case, Reedy's online diary was only discovered recently by the makers of Crash Of An Internet Porn King. We also received correspondence from Reedy written from the jail where he is now destined to see out his days.
Reedy thought his customers would pay to read the online diary and so help his defence fund. Not many did. He started writing in September 1999, the day scores of law enforcement officers first raided his business.
Reedy was not arrested until much later and was left free to write his diary. The first of many entries said: "Over 50 agents - more than in the initial Waco Raid - were in attendance, seizing documents and business records. Also seized was $1,000,000 in receivables waiting for processing."
The Who star says he only used the site to research his autobiography
That Reedy had $1m in unbanked credit card receipts lying around in his office is testimony to the amounts of cash sweeping into his business. For this was only a tiny firm run by Reedy and his wife and a handful of old chums. Reedy was a former nurse and his wife was little more than a secretary.
Portal to porn
Reedy started in 1996 selling adult porn. It was pretty revolting stuff but still legal. After a few unsuccessful months of trading - police say the competition was too strong - Reedy took the decision to link up with child porn websites.
His operation was swamped. One site, called Child Rape, in one month alone showed 1,277 sign-ups for child porn and only one for adult porn.
REEDY'S PORN EMPIRE
More than 250,000 people in 60 countries downloaded child porn from his site at $30 a time
6,500 Britons are being investigated, with more than 1,600 arrests so far
Those jailed in the UK include police officers who worked on the Soham murder case
Reedy's business, known as Landslide, served as a portal, giving customers access to about 3,000 sites. They were run by so-called webmasters who authored the material. Most were based in places like Indonesia, Russia and Eastern Europe.
The names of the sites were bad enough, their content repellent. It included a series of pictures showing fathers having sex with their children. In addition, Reedy ran classified ad sites in which parents tried to swap their children for sex.
Reedy couldn't see the damage he was doing. At one point his diary says: "The main thought running through my head is that I will finally be able to defend my company as we have done nothing wrong."
Plea for donations
The diary is the record of somebody who has no conception of the full extent of the trouble he is in. It records parties at Halloween, trips he takes with his family over Thanksgiving. At one stage he writes: "Things are looking up for us. We are able to meet our financial obligations through your donations."
The diary entries cease on 10 April, 2000. There would be no more, for Reedy was arrested soon after.
Defence witness Catrina Day (left) supplied Reedy and his wife Janice (right) with adult porn
Once the jury had seen the horrific images Reedy was peddling, there could be only one outcome. The judge threw the book at him and gave him 1,335 years - the longest sentence ever handed out - to think about his crimes.
There was one small piece of good news for Reedy this month when that sentence was vastly reduced. The bad news for him is that he will have to survive until the grand old age of 200 if he is to see freedom again.
Crash Of An Internet Porn King was broadcast in the UK on BBC 2 on Tuesday 20 May 2003.