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Wednesday
Aug032011

US Charges 72 Suspects in Massive Child Porn Online Network

File photo. BERTRAND GUAY/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. Department of Justice announced Wednesday it has charged 72 suspects -- 52 of which have been arrested -- in connection with an international online child pornography ring.

Officials say the two-year investigation into the network uncovered a significant amount of sexually exploitative material involving children engaging in sex acts and enduring abuse.

"Operation Delego represents the largest prosecution in history of individuals who participated in an online child exploitation enterprise conceived and operated for the sole purpose of promoting child sexual abuse, disseminating child pornography, and evading law enforcement," said Attorney General Eric Holder.

Holder says a vast majority of the children were "very, very young", and included graphic images and videos involving children. The investigation, launched in December of 2009, targetted a private online website called "Dreamboard", which required its membership to provide child porn in exchange for entry into the network. Holder says the membership criteria included levels of varying degree, and rewarded its members with greater access depending on how graphic or violent their videos or images were.

According to Holder, 13 suspects have already pleaded guilty and four individuals have received sentences of 20-30 years in prison. Forty-three of the 52 suspects arrested are from the U.S., Holder said.

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