Ohio man pleads guilty to making and sharing videos of monkey torture

Videos depicting the torture of baby and adult monkeys have been shared around the world (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Videos depicting the torture of baby and adult monkeys have been shared around the world (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

A man who worked with others to create and share videos of “extreme violence” against monkeys has reached a plea deal with prosecutors.

Ronald Bedra, from Etna, Ohio, conspired with others to distribute the content which “depicted acts of sadistic violence” against both baby and adult monkeys, the Department of Justice said on Monday.

The torture included the primates having their “digits and limbs severed” and being sexually assaulted with “a heated screwdriver”, the department added.

Mr Bedra and his co-conspirators used encrypted chat apps to send money to people in Indonesia who were willing to commit the requested torture on camera.

He also sent a thumb drive with 64 videos of monkey torture to an unnamed co-conspirator in Wisconsin, say officials.

Court records stated that Bedra used the screen name “DemonSwordSoulCrusher” and that he moderated an online group called “Million Tears,” where the videos were shared and discussed.

A sentencing date has not yet been set in the case.

The case comes after similar so-called “animal crush” cases in both the United States and the UK.

After paying $100 for a video in which he instructed an Indonesian videographer to pick up a monkey by the genitals using pliers and hit it on the head with a hammer, a man from Wisconsin was jailed in December.

Kenneth J Herrera, 40, from Soldiers Grove, was sentenced to 12 months and a day in prison, as well as three years of supervised release and a $5,000 fine.

“Animal crushing videos cruelly force animals into a cycle of fear, violence and death for personal gratification or profit,” Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division said at the time.

“We are committed to aggressively pursuing and prosecuting anyone who engages in the creation or distribution of animal crush videos.”

That prosecution continued into 2024 when in February, a Florida woman pleaded guilty to taking part in making and distributing similar content.

Nicole Danielle Devilbiss, 35 from Jacksonville, was part of a social media group and sent at least three payments to others for the content, which she was then found in possession of.

Last week, a British woman pleaded guilty over her part in a global network of animal crushers, having uploaded 22 images and 132 videos of animal torture to chat groups.

A study in September 2023 found thousands of images and videos across social media platforms, including Facebook and YouTube.