Police Officer Charged Over Misleading Domain Names

Aug 26, 2013 3:30 PM PST

RICHMOND, R.I. — A Richmond police officer has been accused of purchasing several domain names featuring a number of variations of his police chief's name and redirecting those domain to porn sites.

Steven Gravier, according to the Rhode Island State Police, was arrested and turned over to federal authorities for arraignment for violating 18 U.S.C. § 2252B for using misleading domain names on the Internet.

According to an affidavit, Gravier purchased the domain names ElwoodJohnson.com and ElwoodJohnsonjr.com in September and later linked them up to the porn sites.

Rhode Island State Police said several law enforcement agencies, including the State Police Computer Crimes Unit, the U.S. Attorney's Office and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, were involved in the probe, which could amount to two years in prison and a monetary fine for Gravier, if convicted.

18 U.S.C. § 2252B is a federal statute that can be applied for perpetrators who create misleading domains that deceive web surfers into viewing material that can be harmful to minors, including content that appeals to a prurient interest of minors; is patently offensive to prevailing standards in the adult community as a whole with respect to what is suitable material for minors; and whose content lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value for minors.

Other details involving Gravier's federal criminal filing are unavailable because a federal judge has sealed the complaint.

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