Reporters Blog

Find posts by keyword
Find posts by date

Print
Email
|

Child porn: "picture of a crime scene that's perpetuated on and on"

by Maggie Crane

KMOV.com

Posted on August 3, 2011 at 10:15 PM

Federal agents say the suspects went online to trade thousands of graphic images and videos of children under 12 years old -- some as young as infants.

The St. Charles County Sheriff's Department is fighting the same type of crime. Police tell me that this bust -- while the biggest ever for child porn -- is just a sliver of who's out there online right now, victimizing children.

Stacks of machines hum with disturbing images of child pornography -- locked away after being siphoned off of suspects' computers. This is St. Charles County's Cyber Crimes Unit.

"It's not a victimless crime," Lt. Chris Meteja said. "There's always a child involved being photographed. It might not be the person viewing the child pornography that's doing the actual, hands-on offending, but someone did at some point, and it's a picture of a crime scene that's just perpetuated on and on and on."

Federal investigators have hit the off switch on hundreds of computers across the globe -- people who belonged to the website Dreamboard.

"This operation targeted hundreds of individuals in countries around the world for their alleged participation in Dreamboard, a private, members-only, online bulletin board that was created and operated to promote pedophilia and to encourage the sexual abuse of very young children," Holder said.

And to keep their membership, "Dreamboarders" are required to upload graphic material they had produced, meaning more victims were constantly added to the cache.

"In many cases the children being victimized were in obvious and also intentional pain, even in distress and crying, just as the rules for one area of the bulletin board mandated, they had to be in distress and crying," Holder said.

Disturbing doesn't even cut it, but it's something Lt. Meteja and his team constantly work to battle right here at home. He's certain there are other sites just like Dreamboard online right now.

"It's just a matter of time before law enforcement can get an in into that particular group and builds a viable case against them," Lt. Meteja said.

And Holder says the federal investigation, dubbed "Operation Delego" is not over.

"With this latest operation, we're calling on the public to be vigilant in protecting our children and in reporting criminal activity, and because Dream Board members have been arrested on five continents, in 14 different countries, I believe we're also sending a strong message to those who are willing to harm and to exploit children, and who attempt to hide their activities from law enforcement: we will find you. We will stop you, and we will bring you to justice."

"For the children they victimized this was nothing short of a nightmare," U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said.

Print
Email
|