San Diego teacher and coach charged with distributing child pornography | USAO-SDCA

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Assistant U.S. Attorneys Amanda L. Griffith (619) 546-8970 and Andrew Sherwood (619) 546-9690

SUMMARY OF PRESS RELEASE – July 18, 2022

SAN DIEGO – Daniel Dasko – a teacher’s aide, substitute teacher and hockey coach for elementary and middle school youth in San Diego – has been arrested by the FBI and charged in federal court with distributing child pornography.

Dasko was arrested at his home on July 13. He first appeared in federal court on July 14 before U.S. Investigative Judge Daniel Butcher and was taken into custody pending trial. According to a federal complaint, Dasko is charged with distributing images of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

Dasko’s alleged illicit activity was uncovered during another investigation that began in Philadelphia in July 2021, when the Philadelphia Division of the FBI received a cyber tip through the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children regarding a man who downloaded child pornography. Subject has been identified as a teacher in the Philadelphia area.

The Philadelphia FBI executed a search warrant at the subject’s Philadelphia residence. A review of the subject’s iPhone revealed numerous conversations regarding child pornography using a social media application, both exchanging and producing images enticing underage victims to send photos or nude videos or to go live online and be screen recorded. The Philadelphia subject and other accomplices posed as women on social media sites to chat with the victims.

The complaint says investigators continued their review of communications on the social media app to identify additional targets. One of these targets, using the name “Mr. Pickles,” communicated with the subject from Philadelphia from at least October 3, 2020 through October 3, 2021, during which time they exchanged over 3,671 messages, including including many image and video files.

According to the complaint, the majority of these messages were conversations about the sexual exploitation of children they knew or encountered online. The complaint contains excerpts from some of the sexually explicit electronic communications between the Philadelphia subject and Mr. Pickles in which they discuss their attraction to young boys.

Based on the investigation, the FBI believed that Dasko was Mr. Pickles and obtained federal search warrants to search Dasko’s residence and person in San Diego for crimes of child exploitation. On July 13, 2022, these were executed. Following the notice and the waiver of his Miranda rights, Dasko agreed to speak with agents about his online activities. He admitted he was Mr Pickles and the user of the social media account.

Victims or anyone with information about this case are encouraged to call the FBI San Diego Field Office at 858-320-1800 or submit advice at tips.fbi.gov. Advice can be anonymous.

“There is nothing more important than protecting our children from sexual abuse and exploitation,” said U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman. “Social media makes it a very difficult business, but we will do everything in our power to protect children from online predators who use technology to target and deceive them.” Grossman thanked the prosecution team and the FBI for their excellent work in this case.

“Our children should be protected, not preyed on,” said Stacey Moy, special agent in charge of the FBI’s San Diego field office. “Crimes against children remain a priority for the FBI. We will continue to aggressively investigate any cases where people prey on our children and work with our partners to remove these predators from our community.

RESPONDENT Case number 22MJ2515

Daniel Dasko Age: 30 Carlsbad, California

FEES SUMMARY

Title 18, USC § 2252(a)(2) – Distribution of Images of Minors Engaging in Sexually Explicit Behavior

Maximum sentence: twenty years in prison, minimum five years mandatory

AGENCY

FBI

* The charges and allegations contained in an indictment or complaint are only charges, and the accused are considered innocent until proven guilty.

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