72 charged in online global child porn ring
Attorney General Eric Holder and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano announce the results of the largest U.S. prosecution of an international criminal network organized to sexually exploit children Photo Pool Video
August 3rd, 2011
07:10 PM ET

72 charged in online global child porn ring

More than 50 members of a child pornography ring who engaged in what authorities describe as "horrific" and "unspeakable" crimes have been arrested for sexually exploiting children from 12 years old to as young as infants. Top federal law enforcement officials say agents busted the global online pornography ring following an intense international investigation that began in 2009. The ring, based in the United States, reached across five continents and 14 countries. Seventy-two members of the online site called Dreamboard have been charged in the United States. Officials said 52 of them have been arrested in the U.S. and abroad. The identities of the remaining 20 are unknown at this time. An additional 10 individuals were arrested abroad on charges from other countries.

The announcement was made at a Justice Department news conference.

Here are some of the important quotes from Wednesday’s event:
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Attorney General Eric Holder:
This operation targeted hundreds of individuals in countries around the world for their alleged participation in Dreamboat, Dreamboard. The private, members only, online bulletin board that was created and operated to promote pedophilia and to encourage the sexual abuse of very young children. Utilizing sophisticated techniques in attempt to avoid law enforcement detection, Dreamboards' members allegedly traded graphic images and videos of adults molesting young children, often, violently and created a massive private library of images of child sexual abuse. The role, the rules of Dreamboard were clear. They encouraged and incentivized the creation of child pornography.
In order to become part of the Dreamboard community, perspective members were required to upload pornography portraying children under 12 years of age or younger. Once given access, the participants had to continually upload images of child sexual abuse in order to maintain membership. The more content they provided, the more content they were allowed to access. Members who created and shared images and videos of themselves molesting children received elevated status and greater access.
Some of the children featured in these images and videos were just infants and in many cases, the children being victimized, were it 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.
We have charged that these individuals shared a 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.
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.
Because Dreamboard members have been arrested on five continents, in fourteen different countries, I believe we're also sending a strong message to those who are willing to harm and 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.
It's hard for me to imagine that there will ever be a penalty that could appropriately deal with this kind of conduct. Twenty to thirty years that the people have gotten in the past is, from my perspective, barely sufficient to handle what they have done in damaging the lives of these young people.

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano:
To give you an example of the scope of this forum, the capture and analysis of the forum revealed that the board may have been the vehicle for the distribution of up to 123 terabytes of child pornography, which is roughly equivalent to nearly 16,000 DVDs. Additional media recovered from the targets arrested in the United States alone has been found to contain over one million images of child pornography.

Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer:
As alleged, Dreamboard had strict rules and a rigid hierarchy. Its membership was tightly controlled by the groups’ administrators. Applicants to the group were required to upload quote nude or hardcore child pornography to become members and members were required to continue posting additional images every 50 days or risk expulsion. Moreover, members could increase their status based on their level of commitment to the enterprise, from member, to VIP, to Super VIP, to the most elite status of all, Super VIP Dot. Only those members who produced their own child pornography could be granted the status of Super VIP Dot.
Dreamboard was, according to court documents, a self-described global community of pedophiles dedicated to the relentless victimization and exploitation of children twelve and younger. Words cannot describe how horrific the enterprises' alleged crimes were.
Make no mistake. We will continue our strategy of targeting the most sophisticated child exploitation networks at home and abroad and sending the message loud and clear that no matter how savvy online predators think they are, we will find them, dismantle their networks and bring them to justice.

Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement John Morton:
There are days in this job where it's hard to separate great success from great sorrow and today is such a day. It's a day of great success because we've brought and end to one of the worst instances of internet child abuse ICE has ever investigated. The cynically named Dreamboard, in reality, a sophisticated international exchange of unspeakable child abuse, is no more and 72 of its members stand either indicted, arrested or on their way to jail. It's a day of great sorrow because this case is ultimately a tale of the perverse and often violent exploitation of children, very, very young children to satisfy the dark pleasures of a group of adult men.

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