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Feds bust online child-pornography ring that focused on young children

The online enterprise, known as Dreamboard, rewarded a participant with greater access to child pornography whenever that participant provided new images of sexual abuse of young children.

By Staff writer / August 3, 2011



Federal officials announced on Wednesday that they shut down an international, members-only online child-pornography bulletin board that specialized in the sexual abuse of children 12 and under.

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The Web-based enterprise, known as Dreamboard, was considered particularly pernicious by law-enforcement officials because it was designed to reward a participant with greater access to child pornography whenever that participant provided new images of sexual abuse of young children.

In effect, Dreamboard promoted pedophilia by creating a reason to search out new children to victimize.

To date, 72 individuals have been charged in three indictments and a complaint that were unsealed on Wednesday. All but 20 have been arrested, officials said.

More than 500 other members of Dreamboard are under investigation.

“The members of this criminal network shared a demented dream to create the preeminent online community for the promotion of child sexual exploitation,” Attorney General Eric Holder told a Washington news conference. “For the children they victimized, this was nothing short of a nightmare.”

In addition to the United States, Dreamboard members have been arrested in Canada, Denmark, Ecuador, France, Germany, Hungary, Kenya, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Qatar, Serbia, Sweden, and Switzerland.

Dreamboard’s online rules of conduct were printed in English, Russian, Japanese, and Spanish.

“The rules of Dreamboard were clear,” Mr. Holder said. “They encouraged and incentivized the creation of child pornography.”

“According to our indictments, in order to become part of the Dreamboard community, prospective members were required to upload pornography portraying children 12 years old or younger,” Holder said. “Once given access, participants had to continually upload images of child sexual abuse in order to maintain membership.”

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