A giant pedophile ring with a worldwide reach was broken apart during a three-year inquiry which led to the arrests of hundreds of individuals, including clergymen and teachers, and the rescue of nearly 400 children who were at risk, Canadian police have revealed.
In one of the biggest such operations ever seen, investigators uncovered an octopus-like child-porn network centered on a now-shuttered sex-film business in Toronto. Its tentacles extended across Canada, where 108 people have been taken into custody, and to six continents. In the US, 76 people were arrested while others have been rounded up in several European countries.
While the investigation, Project Spade, was led by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), it was pursued with the collaboration of the US Postal Inspection Service and law enforcement agencies in Sweden, Spain, Mexico, Australia, South Africa and Hong Kong, officials said.
While it is not the first such ring to be uncovered, it is the identities of some of those accused of consuming and helping to create the material that will attract attention.
“The arrests included 40 schoolteachers, nine doctors and nurses, 32 people who volunteered with children, six law-enforcement personnel, nine pastors or priests and three foster parents,” said inspector Joanna Beavan-Desjardins.
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