An enormous law enforcement operation has led to the arrest of 71 people (70 men and one woman) in connection with child pornography charges.
News reports say the massive action began to unfold in a fairly routine fashion. In Westchester County, New York, authorities arrested a police chief, who had been teaching about sexual abuse at a local Roman Catholic Church.
It's a brutal and sadly ironic story: a member of a community entrusted with the sacred trust to protect local kids now stands accused of committing the very types of crimes he taught children to protect themselves against.
Authorities say that the police chief exchanged pictures of children in sexually compromised positions with a Boy Scout leader, a paramedic, an NYPD police officer, a rabbi and two nurses. It sounds like a sick joke, but the story gets even wilder.
Quickly, the Department of Homeland Security got involved and rounded up 71 individuals in New York City and the surrounding areas for charges of making and distributing child pornography as well as possessing it. Homeland Security investigator, James T. Hayes, Jr. put his finger on why the charges were so disturbing to so many people: “The professional backgrounds of many of the defendants is troubling … we can no longer assume that the only people who stoop to prey on children are unemployed drifters.”
23 suspects hailed from Queens, but the dragnet pulled in people from all over the NYC area, including Westchester Country, Putnam, and even Northern New Jersey.
Operation Caireena, as it was dubbed (Caireena is Roman goddess tasked with protecting children), uncovered a huge and bustling operation that included over 3,000 people trading tens of thousands of child pornographic pictures over 150 different IP addresses.
Apparently, a substantial amount of the pornographic material came from overseas – from Asia and Europe, specifically. Agents from Homeland Security and ICE said that much the more current pornography came from right here in the U.S.
According to a District Attorney prosecuting the case, many of the images involved adults sexually assaulting children.
Obviously, the sheer size and scope of this case is disturbing, as is the fact that defendants included people from the most trusted occupations in our society – spiritual leaders, police officers, emergency medical personnel, etc.
We'll talk more about this case in the subsequent post, but one of the big lessons here is that we all need to be more careful about the assumptions we make about sex and cybercrime defendants.
If you or someone you love stands accused of a serious Florida cybercrime or sex crime, call the team here at Seltzer Mayberg, LLC
at 1-888-THE-DEFENSE (888-843-3333) for an immediate, thorough and confidential evaluation of your case.