Man arrested on suspicion of having child porn; Authorities say he discussed torturing, eating children

An Anderson man and guardian of two children is in custody after authorities say they found violent child pornography on his computers and online chats in which he discussed torturing and eating children.

Jason Scarcello, 42, was arrested on suspicion of having and distributing pornographic videos and photos of children Wednesday, said agents with the Homeland Security Investigations branch of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Scarcello’s was one of 42 arrests made around the world in what authorities called one of the most disturbing cases of its kind they’ve seen. He is one of 12 arrested in the U.S.

“Just being able to finally SEE an actually (sic) child cooking would be a dream come true. I really am hoping that I can find some attainable targets up here,” Scarcello wrote in one chat under a screen name, investigators said. They said he wrote he’d like to try eating one child, and he’s “NOT worried about any of the potential kids.”

Scarcello, who serves as a guardian to two children, had multiple CDs and DVDs depicting children being abused and, in some cases, dead, Special Agent Gene Kizenko said in a criminal complaint filed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California.

Agents say they are still investigating whether Scarcello ever assaulted any children.

The District Court website listed Matthew McCrary Scoble, of the Office of Federal Defenders, as the attorney for Jason Scarcello.

Scoble declined to comment on the case.

Agents say they were led to Scarcello after arresting others allegedly involved in an international child pornography ring. Participants used “peer to peer” networks to trade images and videos of child pornography using special keywords to identify the explicit material, Kizenko said.

Agents built their case by piecing together clues from Scarcello’s IP address, his Yahoo! e-mail account and tracking pornographic images shared by Scarcello, Arnett and others, Kizenko said in his complaint. An IP address is the unique numeric code assigned to a computer when it is connected to the Internet.

Kizenko said Scarcello traded images over the Ares Network, both downloading and distributing images and video. Kizenko said agents found at least 37 unique files shared between December 2011 and June 2012 under an IP address registered to Scarcello, including two videos of prepubescent children being raped and one involving use of a sex toy on a child.

He said Scarcello also used chat rooms to discuss fantasies. He said Scarcello allegedly chatted online with Michael Arnett, of Kansas City, about kidnapping, torturing, killing and eating children.

The chats took place between August 2011 and March 2012, Kizenko said.

In several chat logs included in the complaint, Scarcello allegedly asked Arnett about kidnapping children.

“One thing I always forget to ask you is what do you keep in your van, like what’s a good ‘hunting kit’ and supplies do you have,” Kizenko said Scarcello wrote under his screen name. He said Scarcello wrote about the ecstasy he’d expect from kidnapping a child, including the fear his victim would feel.

The pair also discussed cannibalism, Kizenko stated. Arnett asked Scarcello at one point if he would like to “take one to eat for real?” according to the complaint.

“I like to think so. My ideal of coarse would be to have a partner to do it with and learn from, but the reality of it is that I’d probably have to do it alone,” Scarcello wrote, according to Kizenko’s complaint. “I’d say my concerns of doing it are really only in the getting caught. I’m not concerned with what the child or it’s parents think or feel. All of that ‘boo hoo’ BS belongs under the category of ‘woulda coulda shoulda done something to prevent it.”

Arnett also used the network to share a photograph he’d taken of two children, under 2, bound and gagged in a roasting pan, Kizenko said. Those children were later found alive.

The chats were found by authorities after they arrested Arnett in May.

Ross Feinstein, spokesman for ICE, said Arnett chatted online with Scarcello and one other individual, who was also arrested in another part of the United States, about cannibalism.

“I’ve been a part of this investigation for a while. Everything’s horrific about it,” he said. “The level of discussion of exploitation of children is the most disturbing I’ve ever seen.”

On Wednesday, agents showed up at Scarcello’s single story ranch house, Kizenko said. They searched the two-bedroom, one bathroom home, which has a children’s jungle gym on the side, he said.

One of the rooms was “obviously” set up for two children, he said. Agents found at least two computers and began searching them.

Kizenko said Scarcello, his wife and the two children showed up; his wife took the children inside while investigators questioned Scarcello.

At first, Scarcello said a computer virus had been bringing up strange things on his computer, but then admitted to possessing pornography, Kizenko said.

He said Scarcello acknowledged the username for Yahoo! chat that investigators had been tracking was his.

He said Scarcello then led investigators to his bedroom and showed them two CD pouches.

A purple pouch with black trim was marked “Jason’s downloaded CDs,” “HANDS OFF,” and “That means you, Hunny Bunny!” Kizenko said in the complaint.

Inside, officers found CDs and DVDs depicting prepubescent children having sex with adults, Kizenko said. He said Scarcello said “he preferred images and videos of girls, but could not say for certain if (he) had images or videos of boys.”

Kizenko said Scarcello told agents he began downloading child pornography about one year ago, with the last time he did it about a month ago.

Kizenko said in the complaint that the photographs involved children being physically abused and in bondage, with some photos of dead children and autopsy photos of children.

Kizenko said Scarcello and his wife have two young children, who were either adopted or in foster care, under 10.

Roxanne Burke, a community relations representative for the Shasta County Health and Human Services Agency, Children’s Services, declined to comment on the case.

In an e-mailed statement, she said all children fostered through Shasta County Children’s Services can go into homes only if everyone 18 and older passes a criminal record check that includes fingerprints. Foster parents must also take a 27-hour course, and are screened through a process involving interviews and home visits.

The Scarcello investigation was part of an international child pornography probe that began in Boston, Feinstein said.

It began with the arrest of a hotel manager there, he said. Agents found a series of explicit pictures that stood out from the rest, because of a stuffed animal and newer clothing.

ICE agents tracked it to The Netherlands. A television spot involving the child’s face was aired, and within two hours Dutch agents arrested Robert Mikelsons, a day care worker, and his boyfriend, Feinstein said.

He said Mikelsons had abused around 87 children, and agents tracked the photographs’ distribution to Arnett.

Scarcello was the 11th of 12 arrested in the U.S., Feinstein said, while a church bus driver was No. 10.

Scarcello is being held without bail in the Sacramento County Jail.

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