– Feds take down the world’s ‘largest dark web child porn marketplace’
” 200,000 unique videos or almost 8 terabytes of data showing sex acts involving children, toddlers and infants”
– The Royal Canadian Mounted Police, a beloved national icon, rocked by sexual abuse and harassment “more than 500 potential class members”
– Diocese pays $4.4M in abuse compensation to 57 victims
– Without oversight, scores of accused priests commit crimes
“Nearly 1,700 priests and other clergy members that the Roman Catholic Church considers credibly accused of child sexual abuse are living under the radar with little to no oversight from religious authorities or law enforcement”
“These priests, deacons, monks and lay people now teach middle-school math. They counsel survivors of sexual assault. They work as nurses and volunteer at nonprofits aimed at helping at-risk kids. They live next to playgrounds and day care centers. They foster and care for children.”
– California sex abuse law likely to spur thousands of claims
“He predicted 5,000 to 10,000 lawsuits under the new state law….
He said the church paid more than $1.2 billion to hundreds of victims in 2003″
Feds take down the world’s ‘largest dark web child porn marketplace’
Prosecutors say the vast online store was run by Jong Woo Son, currently serving a prison sentence in South Korea on charges related to child pornography.
The dark web, a section of the internet that can only be accessed via a Tor browser, is designed to protect users’ tracks online and obscure digital footprints
Oct. 16, 2019 By Cyrus Farivar and Andrew Blankstein
WASHINGTON — Federal prosecutors have filed multiple charges against a 23-year-old South Korean man accused of running what they call the world’s “largest dark web child porn marketplace.”
The now-shuttered English-language site, called “Welcome to Video,” contained more than 200,000 unique videos or almost 8 terabytes of data showing sex acts involving children, toddlers and infants, according to the 18-page criminal indictment unsealed here Wednesday, and processed 7,300 Bitcoin transactions worth more than $730,000.
According to prosecutors, the vast online store was run by Jong Woo Son, a South Korean citizen currently serving an 18-month prison sentence in his home country after his conviction on charges related to child pornography. The site operated from June 2015 until it was seized and shut down by U.S. authorities in March 2018.
At a press conference Wednesday morning, U.S. officials said 337 suspected users of the site had been arrested worldwide to date….
In addition to Son, more than 300 other suspects have been arrested in South Korea as of Wednesday, while still more suspects were identified in other countries, including the United Kingdom and the United States, including a Washington, D.C., man who was caught with the equivalent of 50 years worth of video footage he had downloaded.
The website ran solely on the dark web, a section of the internet that can only be accessed via a Tor browser, which is designed to protect users’ tracks online and obscure digital footprints. Users could purchase videos using cryptocurrency and an annual membership was priced at 0.03 bitcoins (at current exchange rates, around $300).
Members earned points by uploading new and popular videos to the site or by inviting new members. The site sought only child sexual abuse imagery, according to prosecutors — its landing page stated in red bold type: “Do not upload adult porn.” Prosecutors have also filed a related civil forfeiture case, seeking to seize Bitcoin assets held across 24 different accounts….
Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, October 16, 2019 South Korean National and Hundreds of Others Charged Worldwide in the Takedown of the Largest Darknet Child Pornography Website, Which was Funded by Bitcoin
Dozens of Minor Victims Who Were Being Actively Abused by the Users of the Site Rescued
Jong Woo Son, 23, a South Korean national, was indicted by a federal grand jury in the District of Columbia for his operation of Welcome To Video, the largest child sexual exploitation market by volume of content. The nine-count indictment was unsealed today along with a parallel civil forfeiture action. Son has also been charged and convicted in South Korea and is currently in custody serving his sentence in South Korea. An additional 337 site users residing in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington State and Washington, D.C. as well as the United Kingdom, South Korea, Germany, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the Czech Republic, Canada, Ireland, Spain, Brazil and Australia have been arrested and charged….
According to the indictment, on March 5, 2018, agents from the IRS-CI, HSI, National Crime Agency in the United Kingdom, and Korean National Police in South Korea arrested Son and seized the server that he used to operate a Darknet market that exclusively advertised child sexual exploitation videos available for download by members of the site. The operation resulted in the seizure of approximately eight terabytes of child sexual exploitation videos, which is one of the largest seizures of its kind. The images, which are currently being analyzed by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), contained over 250,000 unique videos, and 45 percent of the videos currently analyzed contain new images that have not been previously known to exist.
Welcome To Video offered these videos for sale using the cryptocurrency bitcoin. Typically, sites of this kind give users a forum to trade in these depictions. This Darknet website is among the first of its kind to monetize child exploitation videos using bitcoin. In fact, the site itself boasted over one million downloads of child exploitation videos by users. Each user received a unique bitcoin address when the user created an account on the website. An analysis of the server revealed that the website had more than one million bitcoin addresses, signifying that the website had capacity for at least one million users.
The agencies have shared data from the seized server with law enforcement around the world to assist in identifying and prosecuting customers of the site. This has resulted in leads sent to 38 countries and yielded arrests of 337 subjects around the world. The operation has resulted in searches of residences and businesses of approximately 92 individuals in the United States. Notably, the operation is responsible for the rescue of at least 23 minor victims residing in the United States, Spain and the United Kingdom, who were being actively abused by the users of the site….
Jong Woo Son indictment
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AUG – 9 2013
Clerk. U.S. District Bankruptcy
Holding a Criminal Term Courts for the District of Columbia
Grand Jury Sworn in May 3, 2018
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
JONG WOO SON, Defendant.
Assigned TO Judge McFadden, Trevor N.
Assign. Date 8/9/2018….
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police, a beloved national icon, rocked by sexual abuse and harassment
Royal Canadian Mounted Police Commissioner Bob Paulson — at a 2016 news conference with Janet Merlo, center, and Linda Davidson, right — apologized to women subject to sexual harassment and abuse. “You came to the RCMP wanting to personally contribute to your community and we failed you,” he said. “We hurt you. For that, I am truly sorry.”
By Amanda Coletta
Oct. 17, 2019
Silina Sargis showed up at the Royal Canadian Mounted Police academy in 2010 to start what she hoped would be her dream career. But soon, she says, a sergeant major began harassing and bullying her….
Like the maple leaf and the moose, the Mountie with the scarlet tunic and the wide-brimmed Stetson is one of the most widely recognized and beloved symbols of Canada. But now sexual misconduct allegations are rocking the institution.
Hundreds of women have come forward to describe the national police force as an old boys’ club, where men boorishly commented on women’s bodies and made unwanted advances. Women report finding sex toys left on their desks and pornographic images in their files. They say men exposed themselves, groped and raped them.
The RCMP has set aside $150 million to settle two class-action lawsuits over sexual misconduct — the first in 2016 with female officers, and now, with women who worked or volunteered for the agency in non-policing roles. Federal Judge Michael Phelan held a hearing on the settlement Thursday in Vancouver. He is expected to rule on whether to approve it within the next month.
Women who experienced sexual harassment within the RCMP say they were frightened into silence. When they did complain, they say, they were ostracized or suffered retaliation….
The settlements cover claims dating to 1974, when women were first permitted to join the RCMP. More than 3,100 applied for the 2016 class-action fund — three times the number expected. But that might represent just a fraction of the complaints. The true number might never be known publicly, because some are settled out of court and subject to nondisclosure agreements.
Attorney Angela Bespflug, who represents two of the three lead plaintiffs in the current action, says she has been contacted by more than 500 potential class members. If the court approves the settlement, she says, she expects the number of class members to double….
Diocese pays $4.4M in abuse compensation to 57 victims October 17, 2019
GREENSBURG, Pa. (AP) — A Pennsylvania diocese has announced a nearly $4.4 million payout to 57 victims of sexual abuse by its clergy and seminarians.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Greensburg made the announcement Thursday about the payment through the out-of-court compensation program.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that most dioceses in the state set up similar compensation funds in the wake of a 2018 grand jury report that detailed a seven-decade history of allegations of sexual abuse by members of the clergy and subsequent cover-ups by bishops.
The Greensburg diocese says it paid $4,350,000, averaging out to about $75,000 for each claimant….
Without oversight, scores of accused priests commit crimes
By CLAUDIA LAUER and MEGHAN HOYER October 5, 2019
Nearly 1,700 priests and other clergy members that the Roman Catholic Church considers credibly accused of child sexual abuse are living under the radar with little to no oversight from religious authorities or law enforcement, decades after the first wave of the church abuse scandal roiled U.S. dioceses, an Associated Press investigation has found.
These priests, deacons, monks and lay people now teach middle-school math. They counsel survivors of sexual assault. They work as nurses and volunteer at nonprofits aimed at helping at-risk kids. They live next to playgrounds and day care centers. They foster and care for children.
And in their time since leaving the church, dozens have committed crimes, including sexual assault and possessing child pornography, the AP’s analysis found.
A recent push by Roman Catholic dioceses across the U.S. to publish the names of those it considers to be credibly accused has opened a window into the daunting problem of how to monitor and track priests who often were never criminally charged and, in many cases, were removed from or left the church to live as private citizens….
The review found hundreds of priests held positions of trust, many with access to children. More than 160 continued working or volunteering in churches, including dozens in Catholic dioceses overseas and some in other denominations. Roughly 190 obtained professional licenses to work in education, medicine, social work and counseling — including 76 who, as of August, still had valid credentials in those fields…..
California sex abuse law likely to spur thousands of claims
By DON THOMPSON October 14, 2019
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Thousands of lawsuits will be filed against alleged child molesters as well as the institutions that employed them under a new California law taking effect next year, attorneys predicted Monday.
The California School Boards Association called the new law an “existential threat” to smaller school districts. Attorneys said the Roman Catholic Church, Boy Scouts of America and other institutions will also face a flood of lawsuits that could force bankruptcies.
They are newly possible because the law that Gov. Gavin Newsom approved on Sunday gives victims of childhood sexual abuse until age 40, up from age 26, to file lawsuits. It also gives victims of all ages three years to sue, starting Jan. 1.
More than 400 lawsuits were filed in New York state in August on just the first day that state opened a one-year window for victims to sue. New York and New Jersey this year both raised their statutes of limitations to age 55, with New Jersey’s law taking effect in December.
About 1,000 lawsuits, the vast majority against the Catholic church, were filed when California lifted the statute of limitations for one year in 2003, recalled John Manly, who represents Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman and other survivors of USA Gymnastics sexual abuse, as well as alleged victims of former University of Southern California gynecologist George Tyndall.
But victims are much more willing to speak up than they were 16 years ago, he said. And the new law allows for triple damages if victims can prove that employers tried to cover up the abuse.
“I think you’re going to see organizations that have been essentially engaging in systemic criminality by protecting pedophiles are about to be exposed. It’s not just the Catholic hierarchy, it’s private schools, it’s public schools, it’s physicians,” Manly said. “This could cause some organizations to go bankrupt. It probably will.”
He predicted 5,000 to 10,000 lawsuits under the new state law….
He said the church paid more than $1.2 billion to hundreds of victims in 2003, and hundreds of millions of dollars since then for therapy and other services to survivors. Six California dioceses last month began a new private independent compensation program for child victims….