Former acting HHS cyber director Timothy DeFoggi was convicted in federal court on child porn charges.
Former acting HHS cyber director Timothy DeFoggi was convicted in federal court on child porn charges.

A federal jury in Nebraska on Tuesday convicted Timothy DeFoggi, the former acting director of cyber security at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), on child pornography charges.

DeFoggi, one of several persons nabbed in an ongoing FBI investigation of three child porn websites, is the sixth person convicted, according to a Justice Department announcement. He was convicted on seven counts, including engaging in a child exploitation enterprise as well as in conspiracy to advertise and distribute child porn and accessing a computer with intent to view child porn.

DeFoggi, 56, formerly of Germantown, Md., registered as a member on a child porn website, one of three run through the TOR network by a single administrator, on March 2, 2012, and maintained his membership until Dec. 8, 2012, when the FBI shuttered the site. The investigation uncovered evidence that DeFoggi accessed and solicited porn as well as exchanged private messages — by any standard described as disturbing — with fellow members.

In one message, DeFoggi even floated the idea of meeting up with another member “to fulfill their mutual fantasies to violently rape and murder children,” the Justice Department announcement said.

The administrator of all three sites, Nebraska native Aaron McGrath, has since been convicted in the same federal court in Nebraska and sentenced to 20 years for engaging in a child exploitation enterprise. 

An HHS official confirmed to Business Insider that DeFoggi worked at HHS from September 2008 until January 2014. He started as a Supervisory IT Specialist at the Indian Health Service in the HHS and was a lead IT specialist in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Administration reporting directly to the CISO from March 2012, the same month that he reportedly became a member of the child porn website, until his departure in January 2014. After DeFoggi's arrest, a federal judge had ordered him held without bail in May 2013.

The arrests made in Operation Torpedo, the program that netted DeFoggi, were the result of the efforts of the FBI's Omaha Field Office, Violent Crimes Against Children Section, Major Case Coordination Unit, and Digital Analysis and Research Center and the case was prosecuted as part of the Justice Department's Project Safe Childhood nationwide initiative to curb child sexual exploitation and abuse. 

A similar investigation of a child porn ring operated over Tor, dubbed Operation Round Table, resulted in the arrest of 14 men in March.

DeFoggi is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 7.