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190 Arrested, 18 Rescued in Child Porn Sweep

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By Andrew Chow, Esq. on June 11, 2012 7:06 AM

Eighteen child victims were rescued in a massive child porn sting that led to 190 arrests in 33 states and seven countries, authorities announced Friday.

Some of the child victims were living with alleged pornographers, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said, according to Agence France Presse. The child-porn sweep, called Operation Orion, also serves as a warning for parents and children about the dangers of online encounters with strangers, the agency's director said.

"Many of the child exploitation cases under Operation Orion began with a child or teen chatting with someone he or she met online," ICE Director John Morton said in a statement.

The Operation Orion child-porn arrests took place between May 1 and May 31. Among the Americans arrested were:

  • A 29-year-old California man who allegedly met a 12-year-old potential victim on Facebook;
  • A 35-year-old Louisiana man who allegedly made pornography with a 7-year-old he was babysitting; and
  • A 54-year-old Michigan man who allegedly persuaded an underage boy to be photographed in sex acts.

Overseas arrests took place in Argentina, Britain, Serbia, Spain, Sweden, the Netherlands, and the Philippines, AFP reports.

Federal and state laws prohibit the production, possession, and distribution of child pornography. Convictions can result in life sentences, which courts have upheld as not violating the Eighth Amendment's ban against cruel and unusual punishment.

Child victims may also be able to sue convicted pornographers for restitution, if they can prove the criminals caused their injuries.

The Operation Orion child porn arrests are being referred to federal prosecutors around the country, and appropriate authorities in foreign countries, AFP reports. For tips on how to protect your kids' safety online, check out FindLaw's page on Online Safety for Kids.

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