Feds Arrest 125 For Child-Porn

AP generic child porn graphic
AP
Capping an investigation of an Internet site from which subscribers purchased photos and videos of children as young as 6 months old engaged in sex acts with adults, federal authorities arrested 125 people in a series of nationwide arrests.

Many of the arrests occurred Wednesday in a case that originated in New Jersey, but quickly spread to 22 states. Additional arrests are expected.

"When I say `hard-core' pornography, I am talking about child pornography that includes images of children as young as six months involved in bondage and sodomy," U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie said. "This type of depraved conduct is something a civilized society cannot tolerate."

Among the suspects arrested were a Bible camp counselor from Vancouver, Wash.; a Boy Scout leader from Mission, Texas; a police officer and a U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer.

Fourteen people were arrested Wednesday in New Jersey, including a pharmaceutical researcher and a college student. Three others were charged previously in the state.

Among those arrested was an information technology manager from northern New Jersey. According to court documents, federal agents searched his home and found more than 500 images of child pornography on his computer, including one showing an adult male having anal sex with a male infant.

The defendants were charged with either possession or receipt of child pornography. The New Jersey defendants were to be released on $100,000 bail each, ordered to stay away from minors and not use a computer for anything other than work purposes.

They could face up to 10 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000 if convicted.

Christie said none of the defendants appeared in any of the images they obtained from the Web site.

He would not identify the Web site or say if it is still in operation. In response to a reporter who asked whether if the site operators had been arrested, their names would have been announced at the press conference, Christie said, "Hypothetically, there could be persons who are cooperating with us and we don't announce that."

Prosecutors said the Web site alerted subscribers that its content was illegal and urged them to be discreet about their purchases.

Several of those arrested nationwide have prior records for molesting or sexually assaulting children. One defendant from San Diego told agents at his arrest that he had molested at least eight children over a 30-year period, and boasted of being able to identify particularly vulnerable children.

Another defendant from Sacramento, Calif., was found to be in possession of a hand-held video camera with a videotape showing him sexually assaulting an 8-year-old girl.

"I'm the father of four young children between the ages of 13 and 3," Christie said. "This is every parent's worst nightmare. It is just deeply disturbing to know there are people like this out there in our neighborhoods."

  • Tucker Reals

    Tucker Reals is the CBSNews.com foreign editor, based at the CBS News London bureau.