OAKLAND -- A Pleasant Hill man was sentenced to 15 years in prison Monday for distributing pornographic videos of young children, sending him back behind bars almost 10 years after he served time for the statutory rape of a 14-year-old girl.
Laurence Pullen, 60, admitted in his guilty plea April 22 that he used the Internet to share videos of children engaged in sex acts with adults, according to United States Attorney Melinda Haag. Such material was discovered on four different computers, seven external storage drives and four camera memory cards, according to the indictment.
Pullen faced a maximum sentence of 50 years in prison and lifelong supervised release, the indictment said.
Pullen's arrest was one of five Bay Area indictments in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Operation Sunflower, which nabbed a total of 246 suspected child porn producers in the five-week investigation spanning 46 states and six countries.
In March 2012, an undercover ICE agent downloaded a series of videos of prepubescent minors engaged in sexually explicit acts over a peer-to-peer network from one of Pullen's computers, court documents show. The agent traced the IP address to a computer belonging to Pullen, whom the agent later discovered had a history of sex crimes in the Bay Area.
Investigators first discovered a slew of computer equipment housing pornographic videos of children during an April 2013 search, but went on to find hidden cameras embedded in the wall of his 19-year-old roommate's bedroom, as well as underneath their shared bathroom sink, court documents show.
The cameras, which could be turned on and off by a light switch in Pullen's bedroom, were hooked up to a monitor in the man's bedroom where he could watch the young woman in real time, court documents show. In addition to videos of the man's young roommate, photos from a Danville high school volleyball game were also discovered on the computers.
Pullen previously spent three years in prison for a 2000 statutory rape conviction after he inappropriately touched a 14- and 16-year-old girl while working as a volunteer volleyball coach at an Oakland youth club. He then went on to have sex with the 14-year-old girl while the team was traveling at a tournament upstate, court documents show.
The man later claimed that the incident occurred because of "a little alcohol, little opportunity, little braveness."
U.S. District Court Judge Claudia Wilken sentenced Pullen to 15 years in prison along with a ten year period of supervised release. Pullen, who is not currently listed a sex offender on a state run website, was also ordered to register as a sex offender and to participate in a sex offender treatment program.