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Hundreds held in global investigation of Canadian child porn site

By Agence France-Presse
Friday, November 15, 2013 8:41 EDT
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Toronto police said a global investigation into a Canadian child porn website had led to the arrest of 341 people including teachers, doctors and police officers, and the rescue of 386 sexually abused children.

Authorities from Australia, the United States, Sweden, Spain, South Africa, Hong Kong and other nations took part in the investigation which began two years ago, police said.

Those arrested include six law enforcement officials, nine religious leaders, 40 school teachers, three foster parents, 32 children volunteers and nine doctors and nurses.

Australian police said Friday they had arrested 65 of the total — including a priest and two teachers — and rescued six of the children.

“Sixty-five Australians have been arrested and 399 charges laid as part of a global investigation into a child exploitation website operating out of Canada,” the Australian Federal Police said in a statement.

New South Wales police said the 65 included two school teachers, a 57-year-old Catholic priest and a 72-year-old retired Catholic priest.

Inspector Joanna Beaven-Desjardins, head of the Toronto police’s Sex Crimes Unit, told a press conference Thursday that undercover officers made contact in October 2010 with a man sharing “very graphic images of young children being sexually abused.”

They were able to trace his Internet connection to a Toronto address.

Their investigation led to a company believed to be producing and distributing child exploitation videos and images over the Internet.

“The company operated a website -– www.azovfilms.com -– where customers from around the world placed orders to have movies sent to them through the mail or Internet,” said Beaven-Desjardins.

The 42-year-old suspect’s home and business were raided seven months later and he was charged with operating a website that sold and distributed child pornography.

Police said the man “paid various people to film children for the purpose of creating movies for sale on his website.”

The Canadian distributor’s website meanwhile allegedly earned him Can$4 million over several years.

Authorities said they seized over 45 terabytes of data, including hundreds of thousands of images and videos detailing “horrific” sexual acts against children as young five.

Police subsequently tracked down the website’s customers around the world.

US Postal Inspection Service acting Deputy Chief Inspector Gerald O’Farrell said those convicted in the case included an attorney and youth baseball coach in Washington state who produced more than 500 videos of children he sexually molested.

Also under arrest was a Georgia school employee who received child pornography and admitted to placing a hidden video camera in students’ restrooms in an effort to film their genitals.

A preschool teacher who produced child pornography while he was employed in Japan and a Texas police sergeant who produced video of a child involved in sexually explicit conduct, were also among those arrested.

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
AFP journalists cover wars, conflicts, politics, science, health, the environment, technology, fashion, entertainment, the offbeat, sports and a whole lot more in text, photographs, video, graphics and online.
 
 
 
 
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