The Boston Globe tells how a single photo of a crying toddler clutching a stuffed rabbit helped unravel an international child pornography ring. Federal agents Peter Manning and Gregory Squire saw the image three years ago after it was e-mailed to them by a Milford, Mass., man who thought he was sharing it with fellow child-pornography voyeurs. His miscalculation sparked an investigation that would spread around the world, thus far leading to 42 arrests and the discovery of 140 children who were violated. The youngest was 19 days old.
Assigned to the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations office in Boston, Manning and Squire work to track down child pornographers and victims. Over the years, they've become painfully familiar with some of the hundreds of thousands of child pornography pictures and videos online. Many depict almost unimaginably grotesque attacks on infants and toddlers and are traded like baseball cards by men using obscure Internet outposts to revel in their depravity. But the image of the boy with the toy bunny led the agents to Robert Diduca, who sent the photo. He eventually pleaded guilty to the production, distribution, and possession of child pornography. In June, the 48-year-old father of three was sentenced to 18 years in prison.