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Aust police praised for child porn bust

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ProjectSpade-ChildPorn
Toronto Police Service’s image of the offenders’ locations worldwide caught up in Project Spade. See the report at http://bit.ly/pspade

Australian police have played a major role in shutting down one of the world’s largest and most sophisticated child pornography operations that had priests, school teachers and doctors as customers.

Australian police executed more than 100 search warrants across the country and laid nearly 400 charges against 65 people they arrested as part of a sting into a child exploitation website operating out of Canada.

The bust, codenamed Project Spade, was announced in Toronto on Thursday where the company allegedly at the centre of the child pornography business was located.

‘The company operated a website where customers from around the world placed orders to have movies sent to them through the mail or internet,’ Toronto Police inspector Joanna Beaven-Desjardins told reporters.

The investigation began in 2010 and has resulted in the rescue of 386 exploited children and the arrest of 348 people around the world.

Brian Way, 42, of Toronto, is the alleged mastermind behind the operation.

‘It’s also alleged that he paid people to have children filmed in Eastern European countries in order to produce some of the movies he would sell online,’ Beaven-Desjardins said.

Authorities said 40 school teachers, 32 child volunteers, nine doctors and nurses, nine pastors or priests and three foster parents were arrested around the world as part of the operation.

The arrests included a lawyer and youth baseball coach in the US who pled guilty to producing more than 500 videos of children under the age of 16 who he sexually molested; a US school employee who pled guilty to receiving child pornography and admitted to placing a hidden video camera in students’ toilets; a pre-school teacher who pled guilty to producing child pornography while employed in Japan; and a Texas police sergeant who pled guilty to producing a video of a child involved in sexually explicit conduct.

Beaven-Desjardins thanked the Australian Federal Police and Queensland Police for their contribution to the operation.


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