(Photo: Romeo Ranoco /Landov)
You could call it disgusting, or sickening, or both.
The Justice Department announced today that seventy-two people have been charged in an online global child pornography ring.
Since 2009, federal investigators have been researching for clues in an ongoing investigation named “Operation Delgado.” The operation originated in Louisiana and feds found that more than 500 people participated in an international, online, members-only bulletin board called Dreamboard. On it members could promote pedophilia and the sexual abuse of very young children.
Of the 72 arrested, 52 have been in the United States.
“The members of this criminal network shared a demented dream to create the preeminent online community for the promotion of child sexual exploitation, but for the children they victimized, this was nothing short of a nightmare,” Attorney General Eric H. Holder said this afternoon at a press conference.“ Our nation’s fight to protect the rights, interests and safety of children goes on, and it will continue to be a top priority of this Justice Department,” he later continued.
Holder explained that the members traded graphic images and videos of adults molesting children 12 years old and younger. The online bulletin board hosted a massive private library of the child abuse.
Operation Delgado is the largest operation to date of persons who operated for the sole purpose of promoting child abuse and evading law enforcement through participation on an online bulletin board.
Of the 702,000 cases of substantiated child abuse in 2009, the latest year for which federal data are available, 44 percent involved white children and 22.3 percent involved Black children; 78.3 percent were categorized as neglect; 17.8 percent were labeled as physical assault; 9.5 percent, sexual abuse.
Ninety percent of child sexual abuse victims know the perpetrator in some way; 68% are abused by family members, according to Childhelp.org.
If you are or know of a child being abused, call the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-CHILD
To share story ideas with Danielle Wright, follow and tweet her at @DaniWrightTV.