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US Says Online Child Pornography Network Dismantled

Wednesday, 03 Aug 2011 01:46 PM

 

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WASHINGTON(Reuters) - U.S. authorities said Wednesday they have dismantled an online bulletin board allegedly used by 600 people in the United States and abroad to trade graphic images and videos of child sex abuse.

They said more than 70 people have been charged in the United States with taking part in the alleged child pornography network dubbed "Dreamboard," a private, members-only online bulletin board.

"To put it simply, we have charged that these individuals shared a dream -- to create the preeminent online community for the promotion of child sexual exploitation. But for the children they victimized, this was nothing short of a nightmare," Attorney General Eric Holder told reporters.

U.S. officials called it the largest prosecution of individuals who participated in an online child exploitation enterprise operated for the purpose of promoting child sexual abuse, disseminating child pornography and evading law enforcement.

Of those charged in the United States, 43 have been arrested in this country and nine foreign nationals have been arrested overseas, including accused bulletin board administrators located in Canada and in France, they said.

The board's administrators required prospective members to upload child pornography when applying for membership. They also used encryption and aliases rather than their real names in an effort to avoid detection, the officials said.

The bulletin board, created in 2008, folded in the spring of this year when members became aware of the U.S. government's investigation, Justice Department officials said.

The 600 members offered to trade images and videos of infants and children 12 and younger, contained in some 27,000 posts, the authorities said. The criminal charges carry sentences ranging from 20 years to life in prison. (Reporting by James Vicini, Editing by Vicki Allen)

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

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