The co-author of the piece, John Gorenfeld says:
Mention DEN, the Digital Entertainment Network, and dot-com historians will know you're talking about the ugliest of the bubble implosions. A forerunner to YouTube, it was brought down by the pedophile appetites of founder Marc Collins-Rector, who had promised to build "the last network," burying TV forever. Its three founders lived in a VC-funded mansion in L.A. where boys -- promised stardom in Web clips -- [filed lawsuits claiming to have been] raped after decadent parties.Excerpt:
What happened after the three founders -- including Disney child star Brock Pierce -- fled the FBI by heading for Spain? An investigative report by Radar Magazine catches up with Marc Collins-Rector, who is walking rakishly free in London...and his protege Brock Pierce, whose giant company IGE -- which buys and sells cash in "World Of Warcraft" and other games -- is winning rave write-ups in Fortune and other magazines. In our long investigation, we discovered strong evidence that Collins-Rector -- who is hiding his money from child abuse victims -- may have helped fund IGE.
Plus you can now watch their hilarious/twisted flagship Web show, "Chad's World," a pedophile fantasy based on the founders' own lives.
As the lawsuits against the company mounted in early 2000, DEN–in which Pierce held nearly one million shares and Collins-Rector still owned a majority stake–began to hemorrhage money. The planned IPO, which was postponed after the first abuse allegations surfaced, was permanently shelved. A crumbling Nasdaq didn't help the situation. By May 2000, the start-up was bankrupt. Before long, its headquarters were gutted, the expensive computer equipment and office chairs sold off for a fraction of their original cost. Around Hollywood, rumors flew that Collins-Rector, Shackley, and Pierce were about to be arrested on embezzlement and sexual offenses. Before any charges were filed, though, the three men disappeared.(Here's a totally not safe for work parody video about the three founders of DEN on Fucked Company)
They didn't turn up again until May 2002, when a tip to Interpol led authorities to raid their luxury villa in Marbella, on the Spanish Riviera–an area British tabloids have dubbed the Costa del Crime due to its high population of English-speaking fugitives. Among the items recovered from the residence were guns, machetes, a trove of jewels, and child pornography. Pierce and Shackley were held for about a month by Spanish police and then released.
The prosecution of Collins-Rector also proved difficult. He remained in a Spanish jail for almost two years, fighting extradition, before finally being brought to the United States, where he pled guilty to eight charges of child enticement, a comparably minor offense. He was soon out of prison–receiving credit for the time he'd served in Spain. Since most of his alleged crimes took place at the mansion in Encino, it was up to L.A. County prosecutors to make any further charges stick, but the DA never took steps to do so. (The L.A. County district attorney's office refused to comment about the status of any DEN investigation.) The victims sought justice in the civil courts, however, winning a total of $4.5 million in summary judgments. Except for a small side agreement with Pierce, the award has yet to be paid, lawyers say.
Mark Frauenfelder is the founder of Boing Boing and the editor-in-chief of MAKE and Cool Tools. Twitter: @frauenfelder. His new book is Maker Dad: Lunch Box Guitars, Antigravity Jars, and 22 Other Incredibly Cool Father-Daughter DIY Projects