Authorities Destroy Global Pedophile Ring - InformationWeek

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6/18/2007
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Authorities Destroy Global Pedophile Ring

Arrests were made after a 10-month investigation involving law enforcement authorities from 35 countries.

British authorities said they have destroyed an international ring of pedophiles who documented abuse of children through live streaming video on the Web.

The U.K. Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre announced Monday that almost 200 suspects were under interrogation there after a 10-month investigation involving law enforcement authorities from 35 countries. The CEOP said the investigation involved more than 700 suspects worldwide and led to the rescue of 31 children so far.

The center said pedophiles from around the world had traded images of children being sexually abused and assaulted through a chat room called "Kids, the Light of Our Lives." Investigators said Monday that 27-year-old Timothy David Martyn Cox, of Buxhall, was convicted in Ispwich, a town in Suffolk, England. He is accused of hosting the site from his home, using the online alias "Son of God," and trading images under the name "I_do_it."

Canadian authorities tipped off their counterparts in the United Kingdom through the Virtual Global Task Force last August and Cox was arrested in September, allowing investigators to infiltrate the chat room and conduct surveillance for 10 days before shutting down the site.

CEOP said authorities found 75,960 indecent and explicit images on Cox's home computer in addition to evidence that he had sent 11,491 images to others. He was charged with nine offenses for possessing and distributing indecent images of children.

"From the apparent 'safety' of his home, Cox spent hours each day planning, promoting and encouraging the abuse and exploitation of innocent young victims," Jim Gamble, CEO of CEOP and chairman of the Virtual Global Taskforce, said in a prepared statement. "In doing so he provided a service to hundreds of like-minded individuals, enabling those with a sexual interest in children to share indecent images and discuss further plans for abuse. Any individual who thinks they carry out such horrific activities undetected is in for a very rude awakening. The belief that the Internet provides anonymity is unfounded and for Cox and Mackintosh it has already proved to be a costly misconception."

Gordon Mackintosh, a 33-year-old from Hertfordshire, England, tried to resurrect the site, according to CEOP. Police said they found 5,167 indecent and explicit images of children on his computer and 392 indecent movies. Mackintosh pleaded guilty to 27 charges of making, possessing, and distributing indecent images and movies, but he has yet to be sentenced.

Police from Australia and Toronto infiltrated the room a second time, for 24 hours, and collated details of all offenders. Authorities would not release further details because the investigation continues.

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