Justice, Homeland Security announce biggest online child-porn sting to date

The Departments of Justice and Homeland Security announced the prosecution of 72 individuals for participating in an online forum that encouraged pedophilia and the exchange of child pornography on Wednesday.

Attorney General Eric HolderEric H. HolderLawyer claims death threats after anti-Black Lives Matter lawsuit Adviser: Obama can’t ‘erase decades’ of racism Airbnb enlists civil rights leaders in discrimination fight MORE and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano announced that 52 of the 72 have been arrested as part of Operation Delego, which began in December 2009. The sting targeted almost 600 users of the online pedophile site Dreamboard.

“The members of this criminal network shared a demented dream to create the preeminent online community for the promotion of child sexual exploitation," Holder said. "But for the children they victimized, this was nothing short of a nightmare." 

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"The rules of Dreamboard were clear – and they encouraged, and incentivized, the creation of child pornography."

According to the Justice Department, Dreamboard members exchanged graphic images and videos of adults molesting children, often violently, and compiled a massive private library of images of child sexual abuse. Justice officials detailed a number of measures designed to reward particularly depraved content.

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The group allegedly also encouraged the creation of new images and videos of child sexual abuse by its members; numerous Dreamboard members abused children and then posted documentation on the board. Those users were afforded the highest rank of "Super VIP."

“As alleged in court documents, Dreamboard was a self-described global ‘community’ of pedophiles dedicated to the relentless victimization and exploitation of children 12 and under,” said assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer.

“Using sophisticated methods to evade detection by law enforcement, Dreamboard members allegedly used the power and anonymity of the Internet to motivate each other to commit their horrific acts of sexual abuse of minors and trading in child pornography."

Operation Delgo involved cooperation between Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, DOJ and dozens of law enforcement agencies in countries including France, Germany, Ecuador, Kenya, and Qatar. Thirteen of the 52 arrested have pleaded guilty while 20 remain at large and known only by their online identities.