A former Boy Scouts troop leader in Buffalo, New York who confessed he touched and took pictures of the penis of a sleeping boy scout has been sentenced to 14 years in federal prison.
Daniel Huzinec, now 26, has been in custody since 2015 when he was first changed with that crime as well as receiving child pornography. At the time, a federal judge said Huzinec was a danger to the community and ordered he be held without bail; he pleaded guilty in 2017. Huzinec’s sentencing was announced today by the Buffalo office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
Huzinec, a social worker, University of Buffalo graduate and Boy Scout troop leader, admitted to sharing images of children engaged in sexually explicit conduct, which HSI investigators said “included the sexual abuse of children by adults and children engaging in sexual activity with other children.”
1. Huzinec First Appeared on Homeland Security Investigations’ Radar in 2014
Then Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephanie Lamarque said the HSI investigation began in December 2014 when Huzinec was discovered sharing graphic child pornography that incuded the sexual abuse of kids by adults and images of children engaging in sexual activity with other children. At the time, he was an Assistant Scoutmaster, the government says.
In 2014, Huzinec was active on Twitter. Most of his posts are garden variety memes and the occasional selfie, but in April of 2014, he retweeted a few questionable posts and this:
2. In 2015. a Judge Denied Bail Saying Huzinec Was a Danger to Children
U.S. Federal Magistrate Hugh Scott wrote that “using a position of trust to photograph a minor would be particularly disturbing if proven at trial.” Later, Huzinec confessed and later pleaded guilty. But at the time, the judge said that given Huzinec worked as a social worker for a child welfare agency and a scout leader, “…(his) employment and community service history — with two organizations dedicated to regular contact with minors — would suggest a premeditated effort to facilitate criminal conduct.”
His then lawyer said Huzinec was an Eagle Scout and had earned a psychology degree from the University of Buffalo. He was working at a Buffalo’s Children & Family Services group home before switching jobs as a background checks for prospective foster parents.
3. The Boy Scouts & Child & Family Services Fires Huzinec After He Was Charged & Then Held Without Bail
After the judge denied bail in 2105, the Greater Niagara Frontier area Boy Scouts of America told local TV it didn’t look like the crimes happened during scouting events. But the investigation would prove that was not the case; Huzinec took pictures of a sleeping boy’s genitals while chaperoning a Boy Scout trip, federal agents say.
Huzinec was also booted by the child services agency.
4. Agents Found Incriminating Evidence After They Searched Huzinec’s House
Homeland Security Investigations says a number of items were seized from his house including a laptop. Huzinec waived his Miranda rights and admitted that while chaperoning a Boy Scout camping trip, he took several sexually explicit pictures of a sleeping 16-year-old boy with his cell phone.
But agents examined his computer and other electronic evidence and found other images and videos of child pornography, including the sexually explicit pictures of the sleeping child that the defendant had admitted to taking. And, agents learned that in November 2014, Huzinec enticed a 15-year-old boy, a former member of the defendant’s Boy Scout troop, to send him sexually explicit pictures by creating a fake email account and posing as a teenage girl. Those pictures were also found on the defendant’s computer. As part of the plea agreement, the defendant admitted to the production of images of child pornography of the 15 and 16-year-old boys.
Heavy also located a disturbing YouTube video by Huzinec.
And in one of his last posts before being arrested, his tweet to @ChildhoodRuined and a “school supplies” Twitter pic have been removed and the accounts suspended for violating Twitter rules. It’s not clear what the reference was or what rules it violated.
The Huzinec investigation was part of the Homeland Security initiative ‘Operation Predator.’
5. ‘Operation Predator’ Has Netted 16,000 Suspects Who Have Been Charged With Crimes Against Children
Since the launch of Operation Predator in 2003, HSI has arrested more than 16,000 people for crimes against children, including the production and distribution of online child pornography, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking of children. In 2016, more than 2,600 child predators were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative and more than 800 victims identified or rescued.
HSI asks the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity toll-free at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or through its online tip form.
Correction: A previous version of this post misspelled Daniel Huzinec’s surname.