New York City police arrested at least 70 people for making and trading child porn over the Internet, federal officials said Wednesday.
Those charged include little league coaches, a rabbi, a paramedic, a police officer, a nurse, and a Boy Scout leader.
“This operation puts the lie to the classic stereotypical profile that ‘child predators are nothing more than unemployed drifters.’ Many of the defendants are, in fact, well-educated and successful in their private and professional lives,” said James T. Hayes, Jr., head of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s New York office.
The five-week investigation, spearheaded by the the Homeland Security Investigations arm of the ICE, led to one of the largest roundups ever of individual users of child porn.
Agents are still examining the hundreds of devices confiscated which equals around 175 terabytes of storage.
“We refer to each of these images as a crime scene photo because that’s exactly what they are,” John Ryan, the CEO of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, said.
The examination could result in even more arrests.
Authorities decided to launch the operation after the arrest in January of Brian Fanelli a former Mount Pleasant, New York, police chief.
Fanelli pleaded not guilty this week to federal charges of knowingly receiving and distributing child pornography. Fanelli told investigators he began looking at child porn as research before it grew into a “personal interest.”