San Diego, California: Assistant U.S. Attorneys Amanda L. Griffith and Andrew Sherwood announced yesterday that 30-year-old Daniel Dasko, a teacher's aid, substitute teacher, and youth hockey coach for elementary and middle school children has been charged with distribution of child pornography.
Dasko's activities were discovered by law enforcement after a July 2021 investigation in Philadelphia.
According to the press release, evidence obtained from the Philadelphia subject, later identified as a teacher in the Philadelphia area, was further examined revealing online conversations discussing child pornography, grooming and exploitation techniques, and trading images.
"The Philadelphia subject and other coconspirators would pose as females on social media sites in order to chat with the victims," the release disclosed.
One of the people identified went by the name "Mr. Pickles," and spoke with the Philadelphia teacher between at least October 3, 2020 and October 3, 2021. During that time, they reportedly exchanged over 3,671 messages, including "numerous images and video files."
"According to the complaint, the majority of these messages were conversations about sexually exploiting children they knew and 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."
The statement issued does not disclose whether or not any of the children exploited were known to Dasko through either his teaching or coaching positions.
The FBI San Diego Field Office is however asking that anyone that may have been a victim or has information about the case contact them at (858) 320-1800 or submit a tip through their website at tips.fbi.gov. Tips can be provided anonymously.
A search warrant was executed at Dasko's residence on July 13, 2022, and he was taken into custody at that time.
After being advised of his Miranda rights, Dasko reportedly agreed to speak with law enforcement and admitted to being the individual behind the Mr. Pickles account.
Dasko made his initial appearance in court on Thursday, July 14 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Daniel Butcher and was ordered detained pending trial.
"There is nothing more important than keeping our children safe from sexual abuse and exploitation," U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman said in the release. "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."