Last June, according to court documents, Jared Boyce crammed himself into the back of a U-Haul with his fellow members of Patriot Front, a white supremacist group, to protest an LGBTQ pride event in Idaho and slur attendees as “groomers.” Standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the hateful crew wearing matching khaki pants, it’s unlikely Boyce knew this would result in him eventually being sentenced to a year in prison for sexual exploitation of a minor. 

Once the group pulled up to the event, they were all promptly arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit a riot. Less than a month later, police seized Boyce’s phone. While they weren’t actively searching for illegal sexual material on it, they found 22 photos of child sexual abuse material, or CSAM. According to court documents, these photos “involve children from toddlers to prepubescents performing sexual acts on adults or other children, as well as images of children exposing their genitals.” The 28-year-old had also, police found, sent a picture of his penis to a 16-year-old girl. 

“Don’t believe the media,” Boyce reportedly told his mother following his initial arrest. “We were just there because they’re grooming kids.”

Boyce plead guilty to nine felony counts of sexual exploitation of a minor earlier this year. The Patriot Front member is hardly the first person connected to neo-Nazi groups to be caught with CSAM.

In just the past few months, at least two neo-Nazis in the UK were sentenced to time in prison for having or distributing CSAM. Luca Benincasa, a 20-year-old from Cardiff who was a cell leader for the neo-Nazi group Feuerkrieg Division, was sentenced to nine years for possession of documents likely to be useful to a terrorist, being a member of a banned group, and possessing indecent photos of children. 

Harry Vaughan, the son of a clerk in the House of Lords who studied at a fancy grammar school, was found guilty of a plethora of charges including multiple terror offenses and possessing “extreme” child pornography in 2020. Vaughan, who created propaganda for the neo-Nazi group ​​Sonnenkrieg Division, was initially given a suspended sentence but reoffended last September and just pleaded guilty to “making an indecent photo of a child.” The 21-year-old will be sentenced on July 31. 

Some of the neo-Nazis who have been found with CSAM also targeted children in real life. 

Andrew Hazelton is a Maine white supremacist and a member of the New England-based neo-Nazi group NSC-131. In 2019, according to court documents, he actively attempted to groom a 10-year-old child he met on Instagram. Hazelton messaged the child and attempted to have her send nude photos and stated that he wished he could have sex with her. In the ensuing investigation, police found that on his phone Hazelton had a folder called 1488—a term popular in the extreme right referring to a white supremacist slogan and “Heil Hitler”—and inside found dozens of videos of CSAM. Court documents indicate that Hazelton either kept the videos on or downloaded them from a folder found on Mega (a file sharing website), also titled 1488. Hazelton was sentenced to five years in prison in 2022. 

This is something that has become distressingly familiar when it comes to arrests within the far-right and just in the ecosystem in general. While a true data set of how many arrests on the far right have included CSAM or grooming isn’t available, a cursory glance at arrest reports shows it occurs frequently. However, how much this is truly a feature of the extreme right is hard to know. 

According to experts, examples like these—and there are many more—are largely a function of the sheer prevalence of CSAM; neo-Nazis are disproportionately likely to have their electronic devices searched by law enforcement, and thus disproportionately likely to be charged with possessing CSAM, but no rigorous study suggests they’re disproportionately likely to possess it in the first place. There is reason to think, though, that in at least some circles it serves as an integral part of initiation into some of the most extreme and fringe corners of neo-Nazism, with the taboo material desensitizing recruits to a point of no return and binding them to others who know—and share—their secret. 

The Order of Nine Angles

The Order of Nine Angles, or O9A, is one of the most infamous and disgusting far-right groups active today. 

They are a decentralized, satanic neo-Nazi organization that encourages members to consume material considered vile by society. The group had been around for decades, but with the help of the internet (and federal informants) their doctrine has become influential in the new wave of militant neo-Nazi accelerationist terrorist groups. While the group has undoubtedly had a large impact on the current far right, it’s intentionally sensationalistic and obtuse in a way that makes reporting on it incredibly difficult. In an explainer about the group, the Institute for Strategic Dialogue writes “several O9A texts promote rape and pedophilia as a way to transgress against civilized norms.” 

“O9A followers are more likely than other neo-fascists to be found with this sort of material because of their doctrinal willingness to embrace taboo, immoral, and violent practices,” an analyst for the Institute for Strategic Dialogue told VICE News—they did not want their name used out of fear of retaliation due to the extreme nature of the group. “While some of these practices have ritual purposes, others simply desensitize practitioners to suffering and violence in a way that creates rigid points of no return. There are many opportunities to back out of participating in a violent extremist group or movement, but there is a threshold of trauma, both received and inflicted, after which those opportunities all but stop.”

The list of O9A-affiliated neo-Nazis arrested for CSAM or sexually abusing children is a long one.

Ryan Fleming, an organizer for the banned U.K. neo-Nazi group National Action actively promoted O9A. According to British anti-fascist outlet Hope Not Hate, which has done some of the best work on the O9A, Fleming ran a nexion (the O9A’s term for cell) in Yorkshire and was connected to the group internationally. Fleming was arrested in 2011 for imprisoning, torturing, and sexually abusing a 12-year-old boy. Six years later he was convicted for sexually abusing a 14-year-old girl he met online. Then in 2021, he was jailed again for unsupervised contact with children. 

Sonnenkrieg Division, an O9A-connected offshoot of National Action (which itself broke up partly due to its ties to the satanic group) had several members be charged for possessing CSAM content. Michal Szewczuk, a 19-year-old Polish national, who was arrested for making terroristic threats, was found to have run a blog that encouraged raping children, he received four years in prison. Jacek Tchorzewsk, another U.K. member, was found with terrorism propaganda and images of children as young as five being raped; he was sentenced to four years and eight months

“The contents of the images are fairly distressing,” a prosecutor said about the videos found on Tchorzewsk’s phone, according to The Independent. “They have been clearly groomed and there is suggestion that these children are forced to smile at the camera.” 

In 2019, an unnamed 16-year-old O9A follower in the U.K. was convicted of sexually abusing a 12-year-old and plotting a terror attack. The teenager was found to have drawn the O9A’s symbol and had written down one of their slogans.

Satanic pedophile Nazis can be found in North America as well, particularly in Atomwaffen, one of the most infamous neo-Nazi groups in recent memory, and its splinter groups. John Cameron Denton was an influential member of the group. Known by his alias “Rape,” Denton led Atomwaffen’s Texas cell. He was also an O9A adherent and under his watch, the group adopted O9A’s aesthetics and began to promote some of their literature. In 2020, Denton was arrested in connection to a swatting ring, during the investigation prosecutors stated they found evidence Denton shared nude images of one of his fellow neo-Nazi’s underage girlfriend. In fact, according to court documents, authorities were told by an informant that Denton “traded child pornography back and forth with another white supremacist.” Denton eventually pleaded guilty to swatting charges and was sentenced to 41 months in 2020. 

It wasn’t just Denton, according to court documents, police initially went to interview Benjamin Bogard, another Atomwaffen neo-Nazi, over threats of mass violence he made online. While doing so they executed a search warrant and found videos of adults raping children. Bogard was sentenced to 80 months in prison for possession of obscene visual representations of the sexual abuse of children. 

“Testimony and evidence presented in this case demonstrated the defendant’s fixation with committing barbaric and inhumane acts of violence against children and others,” Christopher Combs, an FBI agent who worked on the case, said at the time of his sentencing

Most recently, Angel Almeida, a 22-year-old New York man was charged with creating and distributing child porn in 2021. Almeida was caught because of his explicit social media posts bragging about his crimes including one photo he posted on Instagram showing him in front of a swastika, with a sign that said: “I am addicted to hardcore child pornography.” When police raided his house they found O9A material. He has yet to be tried. 

The groups’ influence is widespread partly because O9A encourages members to undertake “insight roles,” where they join other groups in order to sow chaos. Therefore O9A’s fingerprints can be found in many of the prevalent groups acting today—it was particularly influential within militant accelerationist groups that were extremely active in the late 2010s, like Atomwaffen and The Base. 

One former member of an infamous neo-Nazi group that had elements of the O9A inside it, who did not want to be named for legal reasons, told VICE News that inside chats the material was joked about but never shared. 

“The further down you go along that rabbit hole the more extreme and unironic it becomes,” they told VICE News. “In some cases, I was surprised to hear (fellow Nazis were caught with CSAM,) but in a lot of cases, unfortunately, I wasn’t really surprised. Especially if they had been involved, at least in the aesthetic of the O9A.”

At times it was hard to tell fiction from reality, when one of the members of their group was arrested for possessing CSAM they all just believed that it was planted by “the feds” even though the accused had posted jokes about it. The line between who actually followed the tenets of the Order of Nine Angles and who was just using the satanic outfits’ overly edgy aesthetic for shock value was blurry. 

Within these chats, dark humor and irony poisoning is common so jokes about having sex with children and even slang terms for children’s genitals could be easily found. In some far-right groups there has even been infighting regarding the Order of Nine Angles in their ranks and debate over how much to tolerate. In some cases, influential far-right groups have even split over the neo-Nazi satanic group. 

‘Double Jeopardy’ 

When you leave the confines of the sensationalistic but otherwise fringe element of the O9A, the frequency of far-right arrests involving CSAM may hint at another disturbing truth—just how much of this material there actually is. 

Mark Pitcavage is a senior researcher for the Anti-Defamation League and has been chronicling and analyzing the far right for almost three decades. Speaking to VICE News, Pitcavage said that going back decades he could think of many, many instances of far-right actors being arrested for charges along these lines. He’s wary, though, of reading too deeply into it. 

“There’s so much child pornography. Absolutely, there will be people who have extreme ideologies of one sort or another,” said Pitcavage. “But the thing about it is, if you’re an extremist, you are more likely to sort of be exposed as an extremist with child porn than if, let’s say, you’re a butcher. 

“If you are an extremist who has child porn, if there’s any sort of search warrant they’re going to find it. So you’re sort of in double jeopardy, so to speak.” 

The inverse also occurs. Germany was forced to shut down Frankfurt police’s tactical team after it was then found that over 20 officers in the unit were engaging in far-right chats where they shared neo-Nazi imagery.  The probe into the unit came after one 38-year-old member was found to be involved in a massive CSAM ring and authorities found evidence of the racist chats while investigating his phone.

VICE News review of court documents, shows discovery of the CSAM often comes about when officers execute search warrants on a neo-Nazi’s computer or phone while looking for extremist material. Several researchers who specialize in CSAM offenders said they were not aware of far-right CSAM offenders being disproportionately represented in the justice system. One drew a similar conclusion as Pitcavage.

“Child sexual exploitation material is extremely common in the general population, unfortunately,” Cynthia Baxter, a forensic psychiatrist, told VICE News in an email. 

“I wonder if the far-right groups are attracting police attention and then the Child Sexual Exploitation Material (CSEM) is detected when the police are looking for other types of offenses,” she added. “My guess would be that if you looked at the electronics of many people, CSEM material would be discovered.”

As mentioned by Pitcavage, this isn’t necessarily a new phenomenon; some of the most well-known neo-Nazis of the old guard have been caught with CSAM or with underage women including James Mason and National Vanguard founder Kevin Alfred Strom. Strom, an influential neo-Nazi for years, was found with child pornography in 2007, pleaded guilty, and was sentenced to 23 months in prison.

In the late 80s and early 90s, Mason was twice raided by police and was found to have nude images of a 15-year-old girl. He was eventually recieved two misdemeanor charges for his transgressions but continued to offent. In 1994 he was arrested charged with sexual exploitation of a minor, after police became aware he was dating a teenager. While the charges were dropped Mason eventually went to prison for threatening his then 16-year-old ex-girlfriend and a Latino man she was dating.  

The rise in reports of CSAM and other online sexual abuse is partly a function of increased awareness and the increased prevalence of online tools that make it easy to report. It also seems more generally to be on the rise, though. As was recently reported by NBC News, deep in the bowels of Discord and other social media sites, numerous CSAM, grooming, and sextortion rings are to be found. Some of these rings contain elements that overlap with O9A. 

If you have any knowledge about the Order of Nine Angles and grooming/CSAM rings on Discord or other sites, please feel free to reach out to Mack Lamoureux and VICE News in confidence at mack.lamoureux@VICE.com.





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