THE fifth estate: Landslide
profile of a pornographer> Printer Version
November 5th, 2003
Thomas Reedy was born in a small town in central Texas. Like many teenagers,
he has said that he dreamed of becoming a rock star, but ended up studying
nursing and worked in several hospitals before he taught himself how to
program computers in the early ‘90s.
Reedy quickly saw the financial possibilities
in computers and set up an Internet adult porn business. It was lucrative
for him, but he soon realized he could make even more money by tapping
into the child pornography industry. So that’s what he did. Reedy
called his company Landslide Productions.
His wife, Janice, worked as the company’s bookkeeper. She, too,
was considered a computer whiz. They began dating in 1996, and when they
married a year later, they were both on their third marriage.
For two years, Landslide Productions took in almost $10 million. The couple
lived in a $500,000 house on the outskirts of Fort Worth, Texas, and both
drove Mercedes sports cars. During the raid on their house in 1999, police
found dozens of computers and several servers which, once analyzed, led
them to a list of 300,000 customers in 37 states and 60 countries. The
Landslide website made the Reedys millionaires. Subscribers to Landslide
paid $29.95 each to access the child porn websites. The month before the
couple was arrested, their company made 1.4 million dollars.
Thomas Reedy did not actually produce the child pornography himself. He
acted as the middleman, providing a website to advertise material that was
being published by other people, called webmasters, in countries such as
Indonesia and Russia.
Authorities in the United States say Reedy never believed
he was doing anything wrong and never thought he would get caught. His
own email address was Houdini. His downfall began in April of 1999 when
several people complained about coming across his site and noticing child
pornography. He blatantly advertised what he was selling on his web page:
“click here for Child Porn,” it said.
THE COURT CASE
In court, Reedy and his lawyer argued, among other things, that the foreign
webmasters were responsible for publishing the material, not Reedy, and
therefore he was not responsible for its content. The jury did not agree
and they found him guilty on all 89 counts for which he was charged, including
conspiracy to distribute child pornography and possession of child pornography.
In August of 2001, a judge sentenced him to 1335 years in prison. His
wife, Janice, who was convicted on 87 counts, received a sentence of 14
years. Reedy’s lawyer appealed Thomas’ sentence calling it
harsh, and a judge recently reduced his time to 180 years behind bars.
Ironically, prior to their trials, Texas prosecutors offered
Thomas and Janice Reedy a deal. Thomas Reedy was offered a 20-year term
and Janice was offered a five-year term in exchange for helping authorities
convict the actual people who were providing the child pornography. The
Reedy’s believed they had done nothing wrong and declined the offer.
Their cases went to trial and they were convicted and sentenced.
Thomas Reedy and his wife, Janice are now serving their
sentences in prison.
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