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Child Porn Ring Takedown Charges 72 Members, Arrests 52, Looking for 20

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By Fionna Agomuoh, Christian Post Contributor
August 3, 2011|3:53 pm

In the major bust of an online child pornography ring that originated in Louisiana, the Department of Justice and Homeland Security have charged 72 people for their involvement in the an online bulletin where images and videos of child sexual abuse were traded.

The bust, nicknamed Operation Delego, has been tracking the activities of a member-only online forum called Dreamboard since 2009. Dreamboard is dedicated to the distribution of child pornography and the promotion and pedophilia and sexual abuse toward very young children.

According to officials, Dreamboard hosted over 500 members, living in five continents and 14 countries.

“The members of this criminal network shared a demented dream to create the preeminent online community for the promotion of child sexual exploitation," said Attorney General Eric Holder announced Wednesday. "But for the children they victimized, this was nothing short of a nightmare."

Of the 72 people who have been charged, there are 52 who have been arrested and 13 have pled guilty to, “conspiring to advertise and distribute child pornography” and “engaging in a child pornography enterprise.” Four of those have been convicted and sentenced to 20 to 30 years in prison as well as lifetime supervision after release.

Twenty of those charged have not yet been apprehended.

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Holder said the Dreamboard members traded graphic images and videos of adults molesting young children, often violently. The group created a massive private library of images showing young children being sexually abused.

The group had in place several rules in order to avoid detection from law enforcement, such as requiring user names for all members and that all images shared be encrypted and password-protected, Justice Department officials detailed. Images could only be shared with other members in the community and the board could only be accessed through proxy serves.

Also upholding strict registration and membership status rules, anyone wishing to join Dreamboard was required to upload images of pornography featuring children under the age of 12 and had to upload images regularly in order to maintain membership.

“In many cases, the children being victimized were in obvious and intentional pain, even in distress and crying, just as the rules for one area of the bulletin board mandated,” Holder said.

Members were grated more access to the forum and higher membership levels such as “VIP” or “Super VIP” depending on how frequently they posted and how graphic or unique their content was. Only members who posted their own only child porn were could enter the "Super VIP dot" level.

“Providing child abuse images that the individual has produced, providing a large number of images, or providing images that has never been seen before” allowed members to improve their ranks, the Justice Department explained.

Dreamboard has been shut down, according to federal officials.

Despite the online porn ring's tactics to evade detection, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement director John Morton is confident that the perpetrators will be found.

“No matter how savvy online predators think they are, we will find them, dismantle their networks and bring them to justice,” he said.

 

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