1,491 charged in International Internet pedophilia case

Silicon Valley News
Posted at 10:13 a.m. PDT Saturday, October 28, 2000

BY JULIA HANCOCK

ROME (Reuters) – An Italian prosecutor has charged 1,491 Italians and
foreign nationals with offering or downloading child pornography on the
Internet in what could become one of the biggest trials in Italy,
newspapers said on Saturday.

Prosecutor Alfredo Ormanni has ordered 831 Italians to stand trial and
has called for 660 foreigners to be tracked down and sent to Italy to
answer the charges.

The child pornography case is focused around a pedophile ring based in
Russia uncovered a month ago.

It was not immediately clear if extradition requests or international
arrest warrants had been issued for those accused outside Italy and
believed to be mainly in Russia, France and Malaysia, the papers said.

The huge number of people were trapped in a complex exercise involving a
fake pedophile Internet Web site set up by Italian authorities, police
and the world’s biggest software company, Microsoft.

The site, called “amantideibambini” (”loversofchildren”), registered
1,032 subscribers despite a number of clear warnings to make sure they
wanted to enter it.

A number of those charged, none of them Italian, have been accused of
offering pornographic material over the Internet. The vast majority face
charges of downloading child pornography.

The charges were made exactly a month after the pedophile scandal erupted
in Italy following a swoop on 600 homes in the country. Eight people were
initially arrested in Italy on charges of possessing and trading in child
pornography, all of it from Russia.

Three people were at first believed to have been detained in Russia in
connection with the pedophile ring but the reports were later found to be
false.

POLICE SAY CHILDREN KIDNAPPED

A police operation specializing in Internet crime and based near the port
city of Naples reported that the Russian pedophile ring ran an operation
to kidnap children from orphanages, circuses and public parks and film
them while they were forced to commit sexual acts.

In Italy, packages ordered on the Internet were intercepted when they
arrived by mail and were repacked. They were then delivered to the
addresses by undercover police officers disguised as postal workers and
carrying hidden cameras.

The material cost between $400 and $6,000 for each video or disc
depending on the type of film the customer wanted — the more horrific,
the more costly.

The service was divided into several categories. “SNIPE” was the term
given by the ring for videos of children filmed nude without their
knowledge.

“CP” was the code word for ordering an item from a pedophile’s
“private collection.”

The most gruesome, police said, was coded “Necros Pedo,” in which
children were raped and tortured to death.

Italian prosecutor Ormanni told Italian news agency ANSA he believed
those accused in Italy would cooperate with the court and may thereby
avoid a jail sentence.

“But the important thing is to succeed in freeing at least one of the
children who appear in those horrendous pictures,” Ormanni said. “If we
do succeed, we will have achieved a large part of our goal.”

Copyright © 2000 Reuters Limited

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