This month’s arrest of a Montgomery Village man accused of molesting at least seven boys has yielded a collection of child pornography so vast that it likely provided materials for a national or international network, Montgomery County Police said.
“The case is so big. There are so many leads to run down on this,” said Detective Tony Giovacchini, the lead investigator.
Michael James Rinehart, 50, produced hundreds of thousands of child-porn pictures and videos and sold some over the Internet, Detective Giovacchini said.
Because Mr. Rinehart was unemployed for more than two years, police think his primary source of income came from the sale of child pornography over the Internet, the investigator said. Mr. Rinehart also sold, bought and exchanged pictures and movies through a cyber-network of pedophiles.
“We feel strongly that it’s at least national, if not international,” Detective Giovacchini said.
However, no other suspects have been identified, he said.
Mr. Rinehart was arrested July 6 and charged with two counts of child abuse, two counts of second-degree sex offense and two counts of soliciting child pornography. He is being held in the Montgomery County Detention Center.
He could be sentenced to more than 80 years in prison, if convicted.
Police have seized 33 boxes of evidence, which include professional photography equipment and photo albums that identify victims by aliases, age and date the abuse began. There were about 100,000 photo images and about 100 videos and DVDs.
Investigators have not yet begun to examine Mr. Rinehart’s three “supercomputers,” Detective Giovacchini said. Each computer stands about 3 or 4 feet high, and could contain several hundred thousand pictures and videos.
“I’ve never seen computers of this nature before,” the detective said. “They are server-level computers.”
Investigators expect to discover images of other victims in Mr. Rinehart’s computers, which he built himself, Detective Giovacchini said.
Police have very little information on Mr. Rinehart’s past. He has no driver’s license, and his last job was at Suncoast Motion Picture Co., a movie store at Lakeforest mall.
He was arrested in his one-bedroom condo in the 18400 block of Bishopstone Court, near the mall. Before moving to Bishopstone Court, Mr. Rinehart lived around the corner in the 9800 block of Hellingly Place.
Mr. Rinehart abused four of his known victims from 1996 to 1999, and the other three were abused between 2001 and last year, Detective Giovacchini said.
In each case, Mr. Rinehart became friends with his victims before abusing them, he added.
“He pretty much befriended all the boys,” Detective Giovacchini said. “These kids were groomed to behave like this.”
Mr. Rinehart supplied his victims with money, toys, video games, drugs and alcohol, police said.