A Rabbi, A Boy Scout Leader, And A Former Chief Of Police Are Among Those Charged In NYC Child Porn Case

The New York Police Department’s week ended like the start of a bad joke. A rabbi, a nurse and a Boy Scout leader all walk into a…bar? Not the type of bar that you and I would imagine, but more like the police station when these three along with a police chief and about 70 others were arrested as part of a five week investigation into the anonymous child porn trade over the Internet.

Officials are calling this the largest local roundup of individual consumers of child porn and a stark reminder that they come from all segments of society, according to the New York Post.

Consuming child porn “is not something that is just done by unemployed drifters who live in their parent’s basement,” said James Hayes, ICE’s New York office. “If this operation does anything, it puts the lie to the belief that the people who do this are not productive members of society.”

former police chief charged in child porn case
Former Mount Pleasant, N.Y., Police Chief Brian Fanelli exits Federal Court with his wife.

The New York effort, headed by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement, lead to the seizure of nearly 600 desktop and laptop computers, tablets, smartphones and other devices containing a total of 175 terabytes, or 179,200 Gigabytes of storage.

The New York Daily News reported that authorities contribute the advances in technology and computer capacity in allowing child-porn collectors to more easily accumulate large amounts of disturbing, sexual images of children to exchange with other interested parties directly.

Authorities are also examining the images collected by the 70 arrested to determine if any of the children show up in The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children database as a known victim, which could possibly lead to more arrests.

“We refer to each of these images as a crime scene photo because that’s exactly what they are,” said John Ryan, the organization’s chief executive officer.

Authorities also said that some of those arrested had access to young children, although there were no reports of abuse of the children with whom they were close. The Boy Scout leader also coached a youth baseball team; the rabbi home-schooled his children and others, and another person had hidden cameras used to secretly film his children’s friends.

One of the defendants in the roundup is out on bail following his arrest last year on charges he used the Internet to direct women recording sex acts with young children. Court documents allege he “indicated the last video he had downloaded and viewed depicted a mother sexually abusing her 3- or 4-year-old child.”

Authorities decided to launch the operation after the arrest in January of the former police chief of suburban Mount Pleasant, Brian Fanelli, who pleaded not guilty this week to federal charges of knowingly receiving and distributing child pornography. Court documents allege that Fanelli told investigators he began looking at child porn as research before it grew into a “personal interest.”

[Photo Credits: DHS/ICE and AP]

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