Indictments on child pornography

The nationwide scope of child pornography and the need for greater legal and parental efforts to curb it are seen in the just-announced federal indictments of 12 persons in nine states for their alleged involvement in child pornography.

Monitor correspondent Robert M. Press reports that the indictments, announced by the FBI Dec. 17, followed a two-year investigation of a Syracuse, N.Y. mail order film processing laboratory with customers all across the US. An undercover FBI agent worked in the laboratory prior to issuance of a search warrent earlier this year.

This is one of the few child pornography investigations the FBI has carried out, although local and federal officials say the problem is national. And as significant as the indictments are, law enforcement officials and other experts say that most of the persons who ''collect'' child pornography probably get it from other ''collectors,'' making it difficult for investigators to find the sources of such material. There is also concern that use of home video equipment may make it even harder to catch child pornographers in the future.

Parents can help by listening to their children and believing them if they describe their involvement in what may be sexual filming or other abuse, according to child abuse prevention specialists. The offender may be a friend of the family or even a relative and children should be warned not to submit to such abuse.

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