Australians linked with child porn horror
By Adam Harvey and and Nick Butterly
A MELBOURNE man has been implicated in a global child pornography ring in which victims are molested live to air.
The 55-year-old from Mill Park is accused of being involved in online chat rooms in which images of the abuse are beamed internationally.
The new form of abuse is known as "molestation on demand".
Australians are accused of being organisers for the porn ring in which adults are shown having sex withchildren and toddlers.
They allegedly served as administrators for online chat rooms called "Kiddypics" and"Kiddyvids".
The Mill Park man has been charged on summons with two child porn-related counts.
Some members of the ring - including Australians - allegedly took turns hosting a "peer-to-peer" file-sharing program, which enabled group members to access child pornography and watch the live video streams.
They traded in the "worst imaginable forms of child pornography", according to US Attorney-General Albert Gonzales.
Police in Australia have charged the Mill Park man, a 22-year-old from Stafford in Queensland, a 38-year-old former schoolteacher in Brisbane and a 30-year-old man from the NSW town of Bennett's Green over the US bust.
Australian Federal Police hinted that further arrests could be made in Australia.
Chat room members, including one woman, watched online as one US man made live streaming video of himself sexually molesting an infant. Another man transmitted live images of himself abusing four children aged under 12.
Investigators were shocked by this new method of child abuse, said Julie Myers, the assistant secretary of the US immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency.
"Molestation on demand and an ever-younger and more defenceless group of child victims are two of the most disturbing trends ... this case had both," said Ms Myers.
Seven victims, including an 18-month-old and a seven-year-old girl, have already been identified.
No Australian children are believed to be involved.
US authorities have accused the Australian from NSW of receiving the images. He's been charged by the AFP and is due in court on April 27.
The Australians and 23 others from the US, Canada and Britain were arrested after an undercover investigation involving the FBI, AFP and other major international law enforcement bodies.
Canadian investigators were first to discover thenetwork.
The chat rooms were highly secretive and guarded by passwords and special rules designed to block non-members from viewing the images, according to documents released in the US yesterday.
Group members were wary of newcomers and often discussed ways to avoid being caught.
Mr Gonzales praised the work of the AFP and other investigators.
AFP Federal Agent Peter Drennan said investigations in Australia were continuing.
The 22-year-old Queensland man is due before Brisbane Magistrates' Court on April 7.
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