A Central Oregon man helped fund and create videos of monkeys being tortured and mutilated and shared the so-called animal crush videos in a private chat group online, a federal indictment alleges.
David Christopher Noble, 48, of Prineville, faces federal charges of conspiring to engage in animal crushing, creating and distributing animal crush videos and illegally possessing a firearm as someone who was dishonorably discharged from the military.
Noble administered the private online chat group on an encrypted messaging platform to fund and promote the videos that showed the torture, murder and sexually sadistic mutilation of juvenile and adult monkeys, according to the indictment.
He’s accused of conspiring with videographers in Indonesia and others outside of the United States to make the videos that would then be sent to the United States and shared online, according to the indictment. The alleged crimes occurred from Jan. 19, 2022 through June 21, 2022, the indictment says.
He helped pay for recording equipment and provided “bonus payments” to animal crush videographers, according to the indictment.
The federal Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act of 2010 prohibits the creation, sale and marketing of so-called “animal crush” photographs, films, videos or any electronic image that depicts one or more living non-human mammals, birds, reptiles or amphibians being “crushed, burned, drowned, suffocated, impaled” or subjected to any serious or obscene bodily injury. The videos apparently satisfy a sexual fetish for those who produce and watch them, according to animal rights activists who supported the bill.
The legislation came in response to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling earlier that year that struck down a broader 1999 federal law designed to stop the sale or marketing of videos showing dogfighting and other acts of animal cruelty. The nation’s high court, in an 8-1 vote, found the 1989 law violated free speech.
Oregon’s U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley was one of the co-sponsors of the 2010 anti-animal crush bill. At the time it was passed, he said in a statement, “By cracking down on the creation and distribution of crush videos, this bipartisan law effectively protects both animals and free speech.”
When federal investigators raided Noble’s home with a search warrant in January, he moved to Henderson, Nevada, where he was arrested Monday.
He made his first appearance in federal court in Las Vegas Tuesday. A magistrate judge ordered him to remain in custody pending his transfer to federal court in Oregon.
In 2006, Noble, who had been an officer with the U.S. Air Force, was court-martialed for fraud and an unprofessional relationship and dismissed from the military after he was found guilty, the indictment says.
Agents from Homeland Security Investigations found Noble was in possession of a Colt M4 carbine assault rifle, according to the indictment.
If convicted, creating animal crush videos carries a sentence of up to seven years in federal prison. Possessing a firearm as a dishonorably discharged former military member brings a sentence of up to 15 years in prison.