A rabbi, a Boy Scout leader, police officers and a mother are among 71 people arrested in recent weeks as part of a massive New York child pornography bust, authorities said on Wednesday.
The arrests are part of what authorities called the largest enforcement operation in New York of predators who possess, produce or distribute sexually-explicit images of children.
The victims who were sexually exploited and photographed ranged from newborn to 17 years old, officials said. Some of the images and videos showed children fondled and others showed them having sex with adults.
A rabbi, two police officers, two registered nurses, a paramedic, an au pair and a man who served as both a Boy Scout den master and Little League baseball coach were among those arrested. One of the defendants, a woman, is accused of producing and distributing pornography of her own young child.
"We can no longer assume that the only people who would stoop to prey on children are unemployed drifters," James Hayes Jr., special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations New York, said in a statement.
During the five week long operation, Department of Homeland Security investigators and NYPD detectives infiltrated file sharing networks and identified 150 distinct Internet Protocol addresses registered to users in the metropolitan area that were involved in the exchange of child pornography.
In addition to the arrests, nearly 600 desktop and laptop computers, tablets, smart phones and other devices were seized. The devices collectively contained 175 terabytes of data with tens of thousands of sexually-explicit images and videos of children, officials said.
Investigators are still examining the devices and locating evidence, which could result in more arrests.
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