NY Times Prompts FBI Internet Child Porn Investigation

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The New York Times tells the tale of Justin Berry, a soccer playing honor roll student who performed in front of a Webcam – undressing, showering, masturbating and having sex – for an audience of more than 1,500 people who paid him hundreds of thousands of dollars. The Times says that minors, often under the online tutelage of adults, are opening for-pay pornography sites featuring their own images sent onto the Internet by inexpensive Webcams. A six-month investigation by the Times found that such sites had emerged largely without attracting the attention of law enforcement or youth protection organizations.

“We’ve been aware of the use of the Webcam and its potential use by exploiters,” said Ernest Allen of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. “But this is a variation on a theme that we haven’t seen. It’s unbelievable.” The Times persuaded Justin to abandon his business and assisted him in contacting the Justice Department. Arrests and indictments of adults he identified as pornography producers and traffickers began in September. Anyone who has created, distributed, marketed, possessed, or paid to view such pornography is open to a criminal charge. “The fact that we are getting so many potential targets, people who knowingly bought into a child pornographic Web site, could lead to hundreds of other subjects and potentially save hundreds of other kids that we are not aware of yet,” said FBI agent Monique Winkis.

Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/19/national/19kids.ready.html?hp&ex=11

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