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
"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
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)
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