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Nearly 400 Children Reportedly Rescued After Worldwide Child-Porn Bust

“...horrific acts of sexual abuse..."

(Image source: Toronto Police Service via YouTube)

Nearly 400 children have been rescued, police said, as a result of a three-year international child-pornography investigation, according to the Associated Press.

The 386 children rescued from around the world relate to the discovery of hundreds of thousands of images displaying “horrific acts of sexual abuse — some of the worst (officers) have seen,” the head of the Toronto police sex crimes unit told the Toronto Star Thursday.

Law enforcement authorities also have arrested 348 people worldwide in connection with the alleged child-porn operation, the Star reported, including the proprietor of Toronto-based Azovfilms.com, Brian Way, who faces about two dozen charges of making, possessing, distributing, exporting, and selling explicit images of boys ranging in age from toddlers to teens.

Police said that Way, 41, instructed people around the globe to create the alleged child porn, the AP reported. Once police found Way's customer list, the Star added, it widened the reach of the probe to what's known as Project Spade.

(Image source: Toronto Police Service via YouTube)

The investigation began in October 2010, the Star said, and police around the world have been hunting down those who've created and purchased the alleged child pornography.

Among those arrested, the Star reported: A hockey coach, a teacher, a priest, a Scout leader, a retired school principal. The 76 people arrested in the U.S. included police officers, educators, and medical professionals, the Star said.

Investigators watched videos taken from Way’s warehouse after his May 2011 arrest and told the Star they feature all young boys, adding that they tallied 283,000 images of what they classified as child pornography. Police also seized 1,000 pieces of evidence from Way's business and residence during the raid, including computers, servers, DVD burners, a video editing suite, and hundreds of movies, the Star added.

The Star added that charges against Way have not been proven in court, and he, as well as his lawyer, declined repeated requests for an interview.

On the Azovfilms.com site is a legal page, the Star reported, where customers were told “no film we sell violates Canadian or American law.” Police still must prove the videos were created for a sexual purpose rather than artistic merit, the Star noted.

Way remains in custody and a preliminary inquiry continues next month.

(H/T: Toronto Star)

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