Police have arrested more than 70 people and removed at least four children from the homes as part of an international investigation into a global child pornography network. Twenty other individuals have been summoned as witnesses in the six month investigation. All 90 of the individuals — including a police officer and several school teachers — face charges of accessing images of child sexploitation over the Internet. The investigation was headed up by Interpol and the arrests ran simultaneously with authorities in 170 other countries.
Australian Federal Police Commissioner Mick Keelty stated more arrests, across the globe, are expected within the coming months. Some of the images and videos involved victims as young as infants and none over the age of 18. Countless images show the rape of these victims. “These are not children in passive actions,” stated Commissioner Keelty, “These are children and infants being raped and sexually abused.”
The investigation was triggered after a computer hacker posted 99 child porn images on a European website, which attracted over 12 million hits in under 76 hours. Over 2800 hits come from within Australia. A total of 1500 people, and their computers, have been identified thus far via their IP (Internet Protocol) addresses. Thousands of DVDs of child porn have also been seized.
“The real tragedy of this investigation is that we don’t know the origins of a lot of these children, thus we don’t know whether these children are still being victimized in this manner.” Nor does he know how many of these children are now dead, murdered by the act of being raped. Nor does he know how many of the victims were kidnapped or sold to sexual predators by parents or other relatives.
At least, not yet.
Shannon Matthews’ Stepfather Arrested Second Time on Child Porn Charges
Friday, April 11, 2008
Fishmonger Craig Meehan, 22, appeared before a Dewsbury magistrates to stand accused of possessing more than a dozen DVDs with over a hundred sexually images of children between the ages of four and sixteen. The United Kingdom rates child pornography on a scale of One to Four, with Four being the most graphic, depicting acts of rape and violence.
This is the scale under which Craig Meehan, the stepfather of missing Shannon Matthews, age 9, was indicted. All the images were found on his computer in the family home in Dewsbury where he has lived with Karen Matthews for five years, since he was 17. On April 2, Craig Meehan was arrested in the disappearance of Shannon Matthews. Shannon vanished on February 19 and, after a three week search, was found hidden in the base of bed in a flat in Batley Carr, a mile from her home.
Craig Meehan’s uncle, Michael Donovan, 39, of Lidgate Gardens, has been charged with the kidnapping and imprisonment of Shannon Matthews. His trial has been scheduled for November 11, 2008. Karen Matthews, 32, has been charged with child neglect and perverting the course of justice. She will appear in Leeds Crown Court on April 16. Craig Meehan’s mother, Alice, 49, and her daughters, Amanda Hyett, 25, and Caroline Meehan, 29, have also been arrested and charged with interfering with an investigation.
London to the United States
Indianapolis, Indiana, May 27, 2010
A two year international investigation launched by the Justice Department’s Project Safe Childhood has resulted in the arrest and conviction of 40 individuals in two countries. More arrests and convictions are expected. A Baltimore man who helped run the online Message Board, where members shared millions of child porn images, insisted in court that he only participated in order to help bust the international ring. Roger L. Loughry failed to convince FBI investigators or Assistant US Attorney Steven De Brota of his nobility.
Roger L. Loughry, 57, a 1991 mayoral candidate, was sentenced to 30 years in prison. He will nearing 90 when he is finally released. Along with four other individuals, Loughry was one of the online child porn ring‘s top five co-administrators. He could have faced 450 years in prison for his actions and international promotion and distribution of child pornography.
Another ring member, Charles Trull, 43, of Carterville, Illinois, was sentenced to 19 years in prison. Trull was a low-level member of the website but was given the enhanced sentence for his own photographic exploitation of a teenage girl whom he bagan photographing when she was thirteen. He then posted those photos online and shared them with other members across the globe. In more than one photo, the online nicknames of dozens of other members were written on the young girl’s body.
Such actions keep a victim victimized for their entire lives. Regardless of how much effort investigators take, of how much evidence is found and — after conviction destroyed — all of the photos of a victim never vanish from cyberspace, nor from the personal collections of child predators. Nor, regardless of the number of individuals arrested and convicted, is a particular child porn ring ever truly dismantled and all involved taken out of action. Many victims are forced into adult prostitution once turing 16 when they no longer have much appeal to pedophiles. Many are murdered without their faces ever known.
If you believe this not to be the case, please continue to read Rachel’s Tears then move on to Rose in the Storm and countless other WordPress journals devoted to this epidemic. There are few instances in which a child is murdered, butchered, decapitated, or tossed in the trash where the child was not also sexually abused. With the international advancement of the Internet, there are now no victims of childhood sexual abuse who are not the victims of online porn websites. Nor are the victims of serial killers or domestic violence rapists. As I researched this one story, I hit no less than 1,000 other stories — some related, most not — of other predators arrested and convicted of crimes against children.
Such as been the cause of countless international prostitution investigations and cyber crimes investigations since the Innocent Images and Innocence Lost task forces were established by the FBI in the early 1990s. All of these investigations, at one point or another, have involved the investigations of corporate and political leaders, of the entertainment and sports industries, of royal families (including in England and Saudi Arabia). For each arrest, another 20-100 potential arrests and convictions arise.
Charles Trull told the judge his “shame knows no bounds,” but that he hadn’t thought of his acts as child pornography. “I had no clue how wrong it was,” he said. He also thought they had their behinds covered since they had countless lawyers on their Boards of Directors who held webinars on protecting themselves, on the law and the fringes of it (which they had been skirting for years). Charles Trull was convicted in a plea bargain agreement.
Both Charles Trull and Roger Loughry, once released from prison, will be on lifetime monitored probation and will have to register in an international data base of sexual predators. Regardless of age upon release, if either man is ever caught near a computer again, or accessing one, they will go back to prison for the duration of the tougher prison sentence.
Michael Baratta, 49, of Sacrament, California, was convicted on July 2, 2010, and sentenced to 15 years. Scott Van Dorp, 51, of Nashville, Indiana, was convicted and sentenced to 15 years. William Watkins, 39, of Lake Worth, Florida, was convicted and sentenced to 15 years. March Beren Reeder, 33, of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, was convicted and sentenced to 10 years. Christopher Philpot, 32, of Rushville, Indiana, was sentenced to 5 years.
The particular group’s ringleader, Delwyn Savigar, is serving a 14-year prison term in England for the rape of three teenage girls. He is also, under the Operation Nest Egg international investigation, being charged with the production of child pornography.The United States plans to extradite Delwyn Savigar for prosecution in this country.
It is unknown exactly when this child rapist social site was established but at its peak there were well over 1,500 members in at least nine countries. Twenty six others have been charged. Twenty others have been convicted. International investigators are still trying to identify several others known only to them by their Internet screen names.
This is not the largest child porn conspiracy ever prosecuted. Operation Ore began back in 2002 and has resulted in the arrests and conviction of nearly 4,000 sexual predators and numerous other offshoot investigations, of which Operation Nest Egg was one. Members were granted access to the massive Password Protected cache By Invitation Only —- and only after they were investigated to make certain they were not investigators. No doubt, with lawyers among their membership, there were also law enforcement officers who protected the site and themselves as well.
Operation Ore is still in the forefront of international cyber-crimes news as over 300 of the convicted individuals filed a class action lawsuit against Landslide, Inc., claiming they were the victims of credit card fraud. Some of this may be true but many of those claiming to be the victims of fraud have admitted accessing adult porn sites, just not child porn sites. This investigation, also out of England and the United States, was tagged Operation Ore and resulted in the investigation of 8,000 members.
This link is to dozens of other stories surrounding Operation Ore.
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