Global child porn ring bust

2010-12-15 10:15
Los Angeles - US authorities said on Tuesday they had broken up an international online child pornography ring using a bulletin board called "Lost Boy" and charged 20 people in five countries.

The internet forum was used by some three dozen members trading thousands of "images and videos of child pornography depicting young boys in sexually explicit situations", some of which the members made themselves.

Sixteen of the suspects are in the United States, while the others are in France, Germany, Belgium and New Zealand, according to US justice authorities including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

Five have already pleaded guilty in the United States to charges including producing child pornography, conspiracy to transport child pornography and participating in a child exploitation enterprise.

"The Lost Boy case represents a global subculture that exists for the purpose of trading of child pornography and other tools used to sexually exploit children," said assistant FBI director Steven Martinez.

The five who have pled guilty in the United States were identified as David Michael Fagerness, aged 44; Andrew Neil Scott, aged 30; Anthony Jasso, aged 46; Justin Lee, aged 33, and 65-year-old Woodrow Tracy.

Unprecedented co-operation

The four named in indictments but still abroad are: Gregoire Byvoet, aged 34, of Belgium; Sven-Gregor Meyer, aged 46, of Germany; Raymond Ruelle, aged 50, of France, and Robin Lopez, aged 29, of New Zealand.

US Attorney for California's central district Andre Birotte Junior said the Lost Boy bulletin board "allowed members to access pornographic images of hundreds of boys who were victimised for sexual purposes".

"As a result of this investigation, authorities also discovered individuals who abused children, made their own child pornography and shared their disturbing product with others on the internet," he added.

US Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer said the group was uncovered "through unprecedented co-operation with foreign law enforcement partners".

"We are committed to pursuing these perpetrators wherever they are through international investigations and prosecutions like the one we are highlighting today," he added.

- SAPA
Read more on:    germany  |  belgium  |  us  |  new zealand  |  france  |  child abuse
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