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Pulling the Plug on Internet Child Pornography E-Groups


Graphic including photograph of Jana MonroeIf there's one thing we can't tolerate, it's pornographers who specially target children – in this case, taking and swapping explicit photos of 1-10 year olds over the Internet as part of "invitation-only" e-groups.

We got our first tip on this "underground" network in November 2002, from a citizen in Denmark who discovered that an Internet e-group was being used to exchange child pornography. After we analyzed the material and got a search warrant, we determined that some of the images were from a home in the United States where the father had installed hidden cameras in his daughter's bedroom and bathroom. The father, a member of an e-group, was immediately arrested.

Today we pulled the plug on these groups for the 9th time. Cyber Division Assistant Director Jana Monroe announced the newest series of coordinated search warrant operations on these pedophiles, all predicated on violations of 18 USC 2251 and 2252 that prohibit production, transmission, and possession of child pornography.

How widespread are they? Very widespread. The latest searches were conducted by agents in our New Haven, Indianapolis, Boston, New York, Memphis, San Antonio, and Phoenix offices.

Who has been caught in the net to date? Child molesters, producers of child pornography, and registered sex offenders, among others. Since August 2003, we've used 112 search warrants in 31 states to net 27 arrests, 10 indictments, and three convictions. Stay tuned for more.

A few examples:

  •  The 18-year-old son of a state judge who stored more than 100 images on his computer of small children doing unspeakable things.
  •  An elected law enforcement official who had set up a child pornography production studio in his basement – equipped with multiple web cameras, digital cameras, and computer terminals. He admitted molesting his stepdaughter and step-granddaughter for many years; he faces up to 30 years in prison.

Above all: Beyond taking these criminals off the street and offline, we are identifying their young victims and rescuing them from abusive environments.

In the words of AD Monroe, "These kinds of cases truly represent the most abhorrent crimes we see. There are no exclusive clubs for pedophiles or sanctuaries for those who commit these deplorable crimes. We will continue to work aggressively with the Department of Justice and our law enforcement partners throughout the world to identify and prosecute those who engage in the exploitation of our children."

Links: Press Release | FBI Cyber Division | Innocent Images National Initiative