Paedophile swoop nets Aussies


Summary

The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) says the ring centred around the Internet chat room "Kids the Light of Our Lives", hosted hundreds of paedophiles trading photographs and videos of children being subjected to horrific sexual abuse.

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VIDEO: Four arrested

At least 31 children have been rescued from abuse or positions of harm, the CEOP said.

The British-based investigation centred around 200 suspects in Britain, most of whom are now subject to police enquiries.

Authorities said the host of the website, Timothy David Martyn Cox, 27, of Buxhall, who used the online identity Son of God, admitted to nine counts of possessing and distributing indecent images.

After his arrest in September, authorities were able to infiltrate the chat room and collect evidence on the other members.

Forensic teams found 75,960 indecent and explicit images on his computer, in addition to evidence that he had supplied 11,491 images to other site users.

The investigation involved agencies from 35 countries and has gone on for 10 months.

Australian operation continues

Meanwhile the Australian Federal Police (AFP) has warned the more local arrests are likely, with the four arrested here just the "tip of the iceberg".

AFP assistant commissioner Roman Quaedvlieg said the four arrested in South Australia, Western Australia and Victoria were simply the easiest to track.

"This is not over yet by a long shot. These arrests are just the tip of the iceberg," he told Southern Cross Broadcasting.

Mr Quaedvlieg said the rescued children came from first and third world countries, but none were from Australia.

One of the Australians arrested has been convicted of child pornography offences and jailed for seven months, while two others are still before the courts.

'Shocking' site

Mr Quaedvlieg said the site featured "real-time" video streaming of child sexual abuse, as well as still images of the prepubescent and pubescent victims.

"This was almost like an exclusive club. It's not a site that you could stumble across accidentally on the web. You need some sort of key or access number to access the site."

The chat room was formerly operating in Toronto, Canada, before it was resurrected in the UK by Cox.

Resource issue

However there are concerns that paedophiles are going unpunished because federal police do not have the resources to investigate them.

News Limited newspapers have obtained letters from the Australian Federal Police (AFP) asking the NSW Police Force to take over cases the AFP can not staff.

One case involved a NSW man who "groomed" a 14-year-old boy in the US for sex over the Internet and confided he had molested 100 children.

He was not picked up by NSW Police until four months after the case was handed over by the AFP.

"These delays, or in some cases failure to investigate, are unacceptable and the public expects crimes where children are involved to be a top priority," Police Federation of Australia chief executive Mark Burgess told News Limited.

News Limited has been told less than half of 100 child exploitation cases handed to NSW Police by the AFP are likely to be investigated by the state's child protection police.

The rest will be farmed out to local commands or dropped.


The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) says the ring centred around the Internet chat room "Kids the Light of Our Lives", hosted hundreds of paedophiles trading photographs and videos of children being subjected to horrific sexual abuse.

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VIDEO: Four arrested

At least 31 children have been rescued from abuse or positions of harm, the CEOP said.

The British-based investigation centred around 200 suspects in Britain, most of whom are now subject to police enquiries.

Authorities said the host of the website, Timothy David Martyn Cox, 27, of Buxhall, who used the online identity Son of God, admitted to nine counts of possessing and distributing indecent images.

After his arrest in September, authorities were able to infiltrate the chat room and collect evidence on the other members.

Forensic teams found 75,960 indecent and explicit images on his computer, in addition to evidence that he had supplied 11,491 images to other site users.

The investigation involved agencies from 35 countries and has gone on for 10 months.

Australian operation continues

Meanwhile the Australian Federal Police (AFP) has warned the more local arrests are likely, with the four arrested here just the "tip of the iceberg".

AFP assistant commissioner Roman Quaedvlieg said the four arrested in South Australia, Western Australia and Victoria were simply the easiest to track.

"This is not over yet by a long shot. These arrests are just the tip of the iceberg," he told Southern Cross Broadcasting.

Mr Quaedvlieg said the rescued children came from first and third world countries, but none were from Australia.

One of the Australians arrested has been convicted of child pornography offences and jailed for seven months, while two others are still before the courts.

'Shocking' site

Mr Quaedvlieg said the site featured "real-time" video streaming of child sexual abuse, as well as still images of the prepubescent and pubescent victims.

"This was almost like an exclusive club. It's not a site that you could stumble across accidentally on the web. You need some sort of key or access number to access the site."

The chat room was formerly operating in Toronto, Canada, before it was resurrected in the UK by Cox.

Resource issue

However there are concerns that paedophiles are going unpunished because federal police do not have the resources to investigate them.

News Limited newspapers have obtained letters from the Australian Federal Police (AFP) asking the NSW Police Force to take over cases the AFP can not staff.

One case involved a NSW man who "groomed" a 14-year-old boy in the US for sex over the Internet and confided he had molested 100 children.

He was not picked up by NSW Police until four months after the case was handed over by the AFP.

"These delays, or in some cases failure to investigate, are unacceptable and the public expects crimes where children are involved to be a top priority," Police Federation of Australia chief executive Mark Burgess told News Limited.

News Limited has been told less than half of 100 child exploitation cases handed to NSW Police by the AFP are likely to be investigated by the state's child protection police.

The rest will be farmed out to local commands or dropped.