Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Boy Scout Leader tied to global child porn ring

A volunteer Big Brother who works for a school board in Peel Region is one of nine people charged in connection with a global child pornography ring.

The man, a former Boy Scout leader, will be identified today when representatives from several police forces hold a joint press conference to talk about alleged Canadian involvement in a worldwide operation.

Those arrested are alleged to have purchased child porn videos, sometimes tailor-made for Internet customers. They were identified during an international investigation known as "Operation Koala."

The Canadian arrests are only now being made public. However, charges laid against more than 92 people in Europe were disclosed in November following the arrest of the videographer who was alleged to be at the centre of the network.

Police identified the man as Marzola Sergio, 42, an Italian citizen who they say produced the abusive material mainly in Ukraine. Some material, however, was filmed in Belgium and the Netherlands.

The video producer allegedly visited homes where parents allowed their children to be filmed being raped, sometimes with the parents' involvement, or where children were forced to pose with other children or alone, said a Canadian police source.

Internet customers could arrange for the child victims to say the customer's name during the abuse, pose in a certain way, even wear lingerie purchased by the customer to be worn during filming, said Europol, the European Union's police unit based in the Hague.

At today's news conference, officers from several agencies including Peel Regional Police, the Ontario Provincial Police, the RCMP, Europol and the military's Canadian Forces National Investigation Services will outline the charges.

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