11 men charged in global child pornography ring
Two central Indiana men are among 11 Americans arrested in an international child pornography ring.
Prosecutors say the people involved used password-protected chat rooms to discuss, distribute, and possess child porn. Besides confiscating massive amounts of software, investigators also freed victims.
"We identified and rescued, if you will, in excess of 100 children as a result of this that were located in the United States and worldwide, many were in foreign countries," said Steven DeBrota, US attorney's office.
The two Hoosiers involved are 61-year-old John Edwards of Indianapolis and 44-year-old Thomas Vaughn of Anderson. Vaughn has pleaded guilty and awaits sentencing. Edwards has been convicted and sentenced.
It's believed the suspects used sophisticated data encryption software to evade detection for 12 years.
Prosecutors said Thursday that the other suspects, who are from seven states including Indiana, have been convicted or are in custody. Others are charged or under investigation in Canada, Switzerland and other nations.
DeBrota says the victims were mostly boys ranging from toddlers to teenagers. He says members of the ring mostly traded pornography instead of producing it. The largest individual collection had 18 terabytes, or 18 trillion bytes, of images.
Prosecutors say some ring members held information technology jobs, and more tech-savvy members of the group coached the less tech-savvy in the secrecy needed to evade detection.