– Man dubbed ‘largest facilitator’ of child abuse images pleads guilty – Police uncovering ‘epidemic of child abuse’ in 1970s and 80s
February 7, 2020 Comments Off on – Man dubbed ‘largest facilitator’ of child abuse images pleads guilty – Police uncovering ‘epidemic of child abuse’ in 1970s and 80s
– Man dubbed ‘largest facilitator’ of child abuse images pleads guilty
– Police uncovering ‘epidemic of child abuse’ in 1970s and 80s
Man dubbed ‘largest facilitator’ of child abuse images pleads guilty
Eric Eoin Marques, citizen of US and Ireland, faces up to 30 years in prison over web hosting service
Associated Press Thu 6 Feb 2020
A man once described by an FBI agent as the world’s largest “facilitator” of child abuse websites pleaded guilty on Thursday to operating a web hosting service that allowed users to anonymously access hundreds of thousands of images and videos depicting child abuse.
Eric Eoin Marques, 34, faces a mandatory minimum of 15 years in prison and a maximum of 30 years after his guilty plea to one count of conspiracy to advertise child abuse images. A plea agreement will ask the US district judge Theodore Chuang in Maryland to sentence Marques to 15 to 21 years in prison, but the judge is not bound by the recommendation….
Marques, who spent years fighting his extradition from Ireland to the US, operated a web hosting service on the darknet that allowed thousands of users to view and share child abuse images, according to a court filing on Thursday….
Marques created and operated a free, anonymous web hosting service, called Freedom Hosting, on a network allowing users to access websites without revealing their IP addresses. In 2013, FBI agents in Maryland connected to the network and accessed a child abuse bulletin board with more than 7,700 members and more than 22,000 posts. Agents downloaded more than 1 million files from another website on the network, nearly all of which depicted sexually explicit images of children. Images on the service depicted the rape and torture of infants and older children….
Authorities seized nearly $155,000 in US currency from Marques, who said during an August 2013 extradition hearing that his business had been “very successful” and profitable, according to Thursday’s court filing.
Marques was indicted in April 2019 in Greenbelt, Maryland, on four counts: conspiring to advertise child abuse images, conspiring to distribute child abuse images, advertising child abuse images and distribution of child abuse images….
Police uncovering ‘epidemic of child abuse’ in 1970s and 80s
Vikram Dodd Police and crime correspondent
Wed 5 Feb 2020
Police believe figures showing 35% of allegations leading to guilty verdicts justify their inquiries.
Police say they are uncovering a hidden “epidemic” of paedophile abuse in the 1970s and 1980s, with thousands of allegations leading to convictions against people who abused their power to attack children.
New figures seen by the Guardian show that 4,024 allegations led to guilty verdicts at court after police investigations since 2014 into decades-old child sex offences.
Officers say hundreds of offenders, including teachers, religious workers, youth and care workers, thought they had got away with their crimes. Many victims have been traumatised, and some have killed themselves or been left with severe mental health problems.
Police believe the figures, which show that 35% of all allegations led to guilty verdicts, demonstrate that inquiries into non-recent sexual abuse are not “spaffing money up the wall”, as Boris Johnson last year claimed. Labour said Johnson should apologise to victims.
Officers believe there are many more allegations to come, and Chief Constable Simon Bailey, the national lead for child protection and abuse investigations, told the Guardian: “We are now having to come to terms, as a society, and we are going to have to recognise and accept, that during the 1970s and 1980s in particular, there was widespread sexual abuse of children taking place….
Since Hydrant’s launch, 7,000 suspects have been identified, with 11,346 allegations of attacks received from 9,343 victims, all concerning sexual abuse of children. Some claims date back to the 1940s.
Of the alleged offences, 47% were not investigated by police, in over a third of these cases because the suspect was dead. In a fifth of discontinued claims, suspects could not be identified. More than one-third of the allegations resulted in convictions at court, with 6% resulting in acquittal.
The conviction rate comes despite cases from long ago being harder to investigate because of fewer, if any, forensic clues.
Since 2015, there has been a final outcome in 11,346 allegations of child abuse reported to Operation Hydrant – 4,024 of which resulted in a conviction….