WASHINGTON – US authorities have dismantled an online bulletin board allegedly used by 600 pedophiles the world over to trade graphic images and videos of child sex abuse.
Charges have been filed against 72 individuals in connection with the private site.
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"Dreamboard" bulletin board users not only shared and accessed the material, but authorities believe they molested children themselves, in order to achieve the coveted "Super VIP" access ranking to pictures and videos on the site.
The 600 members of Dreamboard, which was created in 2008, offered to trade images and videos of infants and children 12 and younger. At the time it was shut down it contained over 27,000 posts, authorities said.
"To put it simply, these individuals shared a dream – to create the preeminent online community for the promotion of child sexual exploitation," Attorney General Eric Holder told reporters Wednesday night. "But for the children they victimized, this was nothing short of a nightmare."
US officials called "Operation Dreamboard" the largest prosecution of people who participated in online child exploitation.
"The nature of this crime is abhorrent. These are some of the most disturbing images I think you will ever see," Holder said, adding that some victims were in obvious pain and crying.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said digital media recovered from those arrested in the United States included more than 1 million images of child pornography.
Among those arrested on the case were several of the bulletin board's administrators located in Canada and France. Three other administrators have yet to be identified.
Reuters contributed to this report
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