NEW YORK (AFP) – Authorities have arrested 26 people for possession of videos and images depicting sexual assault of tens of thousands of children, New York District Attorney Cyrus Vance said.


In a statement released Tuesday, the prosecutor said the arrests on charges of possession and promotion of child pornography followed a five month investigation.

"These defendants stockpiled images of the brutal rapes and sexual assaults of tens of thousands of real children," Vance said.

"These victims were made to engage in physically and psychologically damaging sexual assaults that were recorded and disseminated online, feeding the appetites of pedophiles for more victims."

He said the victims ranged from one year olds to adolescents.

None of those arrested were charged with assault on minors, but Vance said at least one had shown photos and videos of violence to minors to familiarize them with this type of behavior.

At least two others expressed a desire to engage in sexual assaults on children, he alleged.

Some of those arrested had jobs that put them in contact with children, including Joshua Ruiz, 32, who worked as a substitute teacher in New York public schools.

Glen Barfield, a 39-year-old architect, was accused of exchanging images of pedophilia with a 16-year-old boy living in Canada.

The authorities said they seized three computers at the home of Moshe Gerstein, a 35-year-old lawyer, containing about 5,000 images of child pornography.