crimesider

Feds claim bust of "massive" international online child porn club

AP generic child porn graphic
AP
AP
(CBS/AP) WASHINGTON - 600 suspects. 14 countries. Child victims including infants.

Attorney General Eric Holder and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Wednesday a 20-month law enforcement effort has so far netted 72 arrests among a private, members-only Internet club created to promote pedophilia.

So far 72 people have been charged in the United States with participating in a child pornography network prosecutors say used an online bulletin board called Dreamboard to trade tens of thousands of images and videos of sexually abused children.

Of those, 43 have been arrested in this country and nine abroad. Another 20 are known to authorities only by their Internet names and remain at large.

Numerous participants in the network sexually abused children ages 12 and under, produced images and video of the abuse and then shared it with other club members, according to court papers released in the case.

At a news conference at the Justice Department, the attorney general called the criminal activity a "nightmare" for the children.

Some of the children featured in the images and videos were just infants, Holder said.

In many cases, the children being victimized were in obvious, and intentional, pain- even in distress and crying, just as the rules for one area of the bulletin board mandated, the attorney general said.

Napolitano said the amount of child porn swapped by participants in the network was massive, the equivalent to 16,000 DVDs.

Four of the 13 individuals who have pleaded guilty for their roles in the conspiracy have been sentenced to prison.  Each defendant also received a lifetime of supervised release following his release from prison as part of their sentence

Authorities have arrested people in 13 other countries - Canada, Denmark, Ecuador, France, Germany, Hungary, Kenya, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Qatar, Serbia, Sweden and Switzerland, but some of those were arrested on local rather than the U.S. charges.

The U.S. indictments were unsealed in Shreveport. La.