Hundreds Identified in Child Porn Ring Investigation

Authorities say hundreds part of international child porn network.

ByABC News
February 10, 2009, 6:53 PM

June 18, 2007 — -- What began as an investigation more than a year ago into child sex abuse in the United States by the Justice Department and Immigration and Customs Enforcement has unraveled a global network of more than 700 child predators and resulted in 31 children being rescued from horrific conditions, authorities in Great Britian say.

Monday, the British Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre the British government's online child exploitation task force announced that 200 suspects had been identified in the United Kingdom and that law enforcement agencies in 35 countries had identified 500 suspects around the world who are currently under investigation.

U.K. authorities say they made a break in the case when they shut down the Web site Kids the Light of Our Lives, which was an open forum for trading images and videos of children including some infants being sexually abused. A British court has convicted the man behind the Web site, Timothy David Martyn Cox from Buxhall, England, who used the screen name "Son_of_god."

Canadian investigators notified British authorities about Cox after they came across information showing Cox's involvement with explicit Web sites in August 2006. Toronto police conducted online surveillance and worked with British officials to gather evidence and find other suspects who were involved in trading images of sexual abuse.

When Cox was arrested the following month, U.K. forensic investigators found more than 75,000 explicit images on his computer, in addition to information that he had supplied 11,491 images to other users around the world.

"From the apparent safety of his home, Cox spent hours each day planning, promoting and encouraging the abuse and exploitation of innocent young victims. In doing so, he provided a service to hundreds of like-minded individuals, enabling those with a sexual interest in children to share indecent images and discuss further plans for abuse," said Jim Gamble, head of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre.