Monday, August 6, 2012

Faces of Evil: How a toy bunny helped uncover a vast trans-Atlantic child-porn network

The men came from different walks of life on two continents: a children's puppeteer in Florida, a hotel manager in Massachusetts, an emergency medical technician in Kansas, a day care worker in the Netherlands.

In all, 43 men have been arrested over the past two years in a horrific, far-flung child porn network that unravelled like a sweater with a single loose thread.

In this case, the thread was a stuffed toy bunny.

The bunny, seen in a photo of a half-naked, distraught 18-month-old boy, was used to painstakingly trace a molester to Amsterdam. From there, investigators made one arrest after another of men accused of sexually abusing children, exchanging explicit photos of the attacks and even chatting online about abducting, cooking and eating youngsters.

Authorities have identified more than 140 young victims so far and say there is no end in sight as they pore through hundreds of thousands of images found on the suspects' computers. They are also trying to determine whether the men who talked about murder and cannibalism actually committed such acts or were just sharing twisted fantasies. Read More