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Web child porn ring broken

International ring included parents abusing own children

Web child porn ring broken


WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A joint European-U.S. investigation has broken an international pedophile ring that included parents who sexually abused their own children and distributed images of children as young as 2 years old over the Internet, the U.S. Customs Service announced Friday.

"I've rarely seen crimes as despicable and repugnant," said U.S. Customs Service Commissioner Robert Bonner. "These crimes are beyond the pale."

The investigation was called Operation Hamlet, a 10-month probe that included the Customs Service, Danish national police, the Justice Department and U.S. attorney's offices around the United States.

The ring abused and exploited at least 45 children, 37 of whom are citizens and residents of the United States, officials said. The ages of the 37 children range from 2 to 14.

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A U.S. Customs official makes a statement about the arrest of suspects involved in a child pornography ring (August 9)

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Fifteen members of the ring were charged in an indictment in U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of California unsealed Friday. According to the indictment, all 15 were charged with conspiracy, two with sexual exploitation and one with receiving and distributing materials involving sexual exploitation of minors.

Each charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years. The potential sentences for some of the defendants, if they are convicted, could be as high as 60 years.

Nine of the people were Americans and the other six were Europeans. The investigation is continuing. The 15 are from California, Texas, Idaho, Florida, Washington state, South Carolina, Kansas, Denmark, Switzerland, and the Netherlands, according to the indictment.

The case began in November, when images on the Internet of a sexually abused child in Denmark were seen by Save the Children, an international child development and relief organization.

The organization notified Danish police, who arrested a Danish man for molesting a child whose image he posted on the Internet. The child was his 9-year-old daughter, officials said.

On his computer, police discovered a network of pedophiles, many in the United States.

U.S. Customs chief Robert Bonner announced the bust of an Internet child porn ring, in which children ages 2 to 14 were abused.
U.S. Customs chief Robert Bonner announced the bust of an Internet child porn ring, in which children ages 2 to 14 were abused.  

In January, the Customs Service received leads from Danish police and that led to search warrants and arrests.

A child counselor, a photographer and in one case members of the ring exchanged pictures of children

Defendants engaged in chat sessions on the Internet to discuss production and transmission of the pictures of children engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

In one instance, a defendant requested a recording of a child so he could hear the child crying while being spanked and abused.



 
 
 
 






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