By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
3/19/2014 (1 year ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
An enormous child pornography ring, trafficking in the indecent photos of boys, aged three to 17 years o age, has finally been busted. Said Web site had 27,000 subscribers, many of whom had been tried on related charges.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Fourteen men running the clandestine, members only Web site has been arrested. It's estimated that 250 children appeared on the site. The majority of them were form the United States. Twenty-three of the 251 victims were identified in Britain, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Belgium.
"Never before in the history of this agency have we identified and located this many minor victims in the course of a single child exploitation investigation," Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE Deputy Director Daniel Ragsdale said.
Prayer, fasting and almsgiving.
ICE worked with Homeland Security officials and other agencies to break up the ring. The Web site shared videos of boys enticed from social networks into providing sexually explicit material . sometimes by men posing as women.
Among the suspects arrested was 27-year-old Jonathan Johnson, the alleged administrator of the child porn Web site, which operated out of the state of Louisiana. If convicted, he faces 20 years to life in prison, officials say.
"These indictments represent a strong coordinated strike . Against child pornography and those who allegedly seek to harm our most vulnerable citizens, our young children," Louisiana Eastern District Attorney Kenneth Allen Polite told reporters.
The illegal website operated on a hidden service board on the Tor network from about June 2012 until June 2013, when Johnson was arrested. The Tor network is set up to conceal a user's location, allowing him or her to maintain online anonymity.
The group's nefarious activities came to an end after an item was sent through the U.S. Postal Service to a child, ICE Cyber Crime Center Program Manager James Kilpatrick said, which led the authorities to Johnson.
The 14 men arrested have been charged with conspiracy to operate a child exploitation enterprise. The illegal Web site contained more than 2,000 shared webcam-captured videos of mostly juvenile boys, officials say.
ICE officials warn that a growing number of children are being enticed into sharing sexually explicit material online. "We cannot arrest our way out of this problem: education is the key to prevention," Ragsdale said.
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