The British police acting on a tip from the Toronto police busted a global Internet pedophile ring that broadcast live-streamed videos of children being abused. They rescued more than 31 kids.700 suspects were rounded up.
The suspects were running an international child pornography network from a British-based website. The ring was traced to an Internet chat room called "Kids the Light of Our Lives" that featured images of children being subjected to horrific sexual abuse, including the streaming live videos.
The chat room host, Timothy Cox, 27, above, was jailed indefinitely yesterday at a court in Ipswich, England, the same day police revealed a probe that spaned 35 countries.
Of the 31 children, some only a few months old, more than 15 were in Britain and seven from Canada.
Elements of the investigation belonged to a larger global child porn probe called Project Wickerman, which has already led to dozens of arrests around the world, Toronto Det.-Sgt. Kim Scanlan told CBC Newsworld on Monday The operation has its roots in an investigation into an Edmonton man in mid-2005. Twenty-four people have been arrested in Canada since then.
"Today's verdict serves as a powerful warning to those using the Internet to facilitate the sexual exploitation of children," said Jim Gamble, the child protection center's chief executive.
Cox, who used the online identity Son of God, ran the website from his bedroom from a large farmhouse where he lived with his parents and sister.
Cox was identified after intelligence linking the chat room to Britain was passed on to the child protection center by Canadian authorities in August 2006. The center is an agency under the Home Office that is made up of officers with special experience in tracking and prosecuting sex offenders.
Cox also had been a member of a U.S.-based online pedophile ring shut down by U.S. authorities in March 2006, Gamble said.
Forensic teams examining Cox's computer found 75,960 indecent and explicit images in addition to evidence that he had supplied 11,491 images to other site users.
A man described as Cox's lieutenant, Gordon Mackintosh, tried to resurrect the chat room in January. Authorities in Britain, Canada, Australia and the U.S. again infiltrated the operation.