KENNEWICK — A Kennewick man who used his family’s business to distribute a “mass quantity” of child pornography was ordered to spend nearly 10 years in a state prison.

Daniel Bunch, 42, was ordered earlier this month to serve the maximum sentence for five pornography charges following a more than two-year investigation that began with the FBI.

The case originated with federal agents in February 2017, and a Tri-Cities detective with the Southeast Regional Internet Crimes Against Children (SER-ICAC) task force was brought in months later to help pinpoint where the downloads were happening and who was responsible.

Investigators described Bunch as one of the largest distributors of child pornography in Eastern Washington.

“The image and video files depicted horrific scenes of the rape and molestation of children of all ages, including toddlers and infants. Some of the image and video files included bondage and restraints,” said a statements posted by Benton County Prosecutor Andy Miller.

“By his own admission, Bunch engaged in such conduct for years,” said Miller.

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He used the IP addresses of his family’s business, Bunch Finnigan Appliances near downtown Kennewick, to facilitate his crimes, and the software allowed him to access the files remotely from any location.

“Forensic examiners on the case located multiple terabytes of image and video files of child sexual abuse on electronic devices belonging to Bunch, and determined that he had distributed terabytes of said image and video files to other persons online.”

Bunch pleaded guilty in November 2021 to three counts of first-degree dealing in depictions of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct, and two counts of first-degree possession of depictions of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

Guilty plea

Federal prosecutors declined to take up the case so long as Bunch admitted guilt to all five counts by that date. If not, he could have been indicted in federal court.

Bunch had been out of custody on bail for more than two years and collapsed in court the day he pleaded guilty, when he was told he’d have to sit in the county jail until his sentencing.

The sentencing range was seven years and three months to nine years and eight months in prison. He also will have to register as a sex offender and get treatment with a certified provider.

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At the sentencing in Benton County Superior Court, Bunch’s attorney requested the bottom of the sentencing range and prosecutors argued for the maximum.

Judge Jacqueline Stam settled on the longest term, noting that each image and video file depicted a child victim who, by virtue of Bunch’s conduct, would continue to experience lifelong trauma and victimization as his or her images were viewed and distributed.

She said the breadth and content of material, as well as the protection of the community, warranted the maximum sentence, said Miller’s post, calling it, “Such a sad, awful case.”

He said Stam agreed with prosecutors that it was clear Bunch had lived the double life of a loved and cherished son, brother and community member while also “secretly possessing, distributing and receiving sexual gratification from video and image files depicting the sexual abuse of children.”

Child porn files

Bunch was an employee at the family business when detectives searched the store late July 10, 2019, and found the massive stash of child pornography on hard drives.

A laptop was found behind a box on top of a safe. A 3 terabyte (TB) external hard drive connected to the concealed laptop was 99% full of child porn images and videos and a 10TB external hard drive was 2% full, according to court documents.

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The storage capacity of a 3TB drive includes about 600,000 digital photos, 1,500 hours of videos or 750,000 4-minute songs.

Detectives said Bunch was online at the time of the search and accessing the store’s computer network remotely. They went to his house and arrested him about 3:30 a.m. July 11.

He was fired from the business later that month.

Brother’s charges

Meanwhile, Bunch’s younger brother is awaiting trial Feb. 22 for his own child pornography charges.

It was during the investigation into Daniel Bunch’s case that detectives allegedly discovered downloaded files with explicit videos on David I. Bunch’s laptop and hard drive.

David Bunch had a small quantity of child porn on his electronics compared to his brother’s large stash, court documents said.

He told detectives he stashed his laptop at the office because the father of three knew it contained pornography, both adult and child, documents said.

The brothers reportedly did not know about each other’s interest in child exploitation material.

David Bunch is charged with two counts of first-degree possession of depictions of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct.