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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

How A Photo Cracked Open A Child Porn Ring

Jenifer McKim of the Boston Globe tells the story of how one photo — of a half-naked toddler – cracked open an international network of child pornographers. The photo featured a stuffed animal that investigators in Holland knew was popular there.

The toddler was wearing an unusual sweater, too — helping investigators even more. The mother of the toddler in Holland had no idea her son had been an abuse victim. The tracking led to many arrests, from a ringleader in Holland, to a father in Massachusetts, and many more.

Guest:

  • Jenifer McKim, reporter Boston Globe

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • Adam Robins

    Ick. Just… ick.
     

  • simplulo

    A half-naked photo of a toddler constitutes pornography? I have photos of my very young children without clothes in my iPad photo album–should I be worried? You throw out loose statistics like “1 in 5 girls will be sexually abused, and 1 in 10 boys”. I think we need some clearer definitions, or some people are going to dismiss this all as gross exaggerations.

    • Robin

      we were trying to be as delicate as possible but perhaps we should have been more direct,

      The Dutch toddler was naked from the waste down,  was distraught, had been raped by his day care provider/ babysitter,  and his picture was being passed around the internet for the  sexual gratification of adults.

      Just the fact that a stranger had the picture is worrisome enough for me.

      But perhaps you’re right, perhaps we shold have been more “icky” (good word Adam)
      than we were.

      The article is posted above.

      Best
      Robin

      • http://www.facebook.com/simplulo Stephen Cobb

        I appreciate that you have to balance several considerations and walk a fine line. A bit more ick would have been useful, perhaps expressed euphemistically.

    • Tuckersbay

      If you don’t know the difference between a photo and porn you might want to think about it. As far as the statistics, read your local newspaper. i’m from Orlando and let me tell you that every single day and I mean that literaly, every day I read in local news of yet another child being molested beaten abused and murdered. Instead of worring about the statistics I would think you would be outraged. The problem with child pornography is real and is getting more prevelant by the day. I’m one of those 10 boys and 3 of my six sisters are 3 of the five girls. I’m sorry to lash out at you it’s nothing personal it’s just that what happened to me and trying to protect my sisters when we were younger has taken it’s toll. We spend so much time money and effort in this country on often mundane issues, up in arms about shit! but I don’t hear anyone including the religious the politicians or every day citizens fighting for the protection of our most vulnerable helpless and innocent. I can fight today but as child I was unable.  

      • http://www.facebook.com/simplulo Stephen Cobb

        I know the difference between what *I* consider an innocent photo and porn, but, as Robin herself admitted in her response, they did not describe the photo in question as being anything other than a half-naked boy, without even a hint of his trauma. After reading the additional details, yes, I want the perp nailed to the wall (literally).

        Yes, I could also have responded emotionally (“Ick! Awful! I can’t imagine this happening to my children!”) but that’s the shrill level of discussion you get on mainstream news, not NPR. Adults in the decision-making world realize that there are many issues competing for our limited resources (what to you might be “mundane” is someone else’s pet issue). YES, we need statistics, and NO, they do not come from one’s local newspaper (if they did, I would consider the problem non-existent here in New Hampshire). Anecdotal personal examples are interesting but also reveal emotional bias–I could easily dismiss your response (though I won’t) as the opinion of someone too emotionally involved and unable to think statistically. If you want to convince the analytical, you need more rigorous arguments, not shrill emotion. I’m not trying to play down the issue, only encourage you to make a better case.
        I have a suspicion that people are avoiding the issue of child pornography because it is so distasteful, like we have seen recently with the Catholic Church and Penn State football. The issue is too important for us to allow squeamishness to get in the way.

  • Drew4U

    We never hear in any of these stories about WHY? WHY?? Are these men simply sadists who prey on children?

    • http://www.facebook.com/simplulo Stephen Cobb

      I see a confluence of three factors: 1) men get all kinds of deviant interests, e.g. fetishes, 2) some people are indeed sadistic, and 3) in many species (notably gorillas) males are inclined to kill other males’ infants for not furthering their own genes.

      As I understand it, pedophilia is not curable. How about this solution: computer-generated pornography? No victim, no crime.

  • NonnerDoIt

    I want to second what the interviewee said very briefly: if your child doesn’t like somebody and can’t or won’t explain why, just keep your child away or at least NEVER alone with that person.  If you’ve got no reason to suspect anything then do it with a string of minor excuses, but do it.  Probably its nothing major (my nearly 3 yr old has a strong aversion to loud, boisterous people), but you never know and the consequences of missing it are, clearly, horrible.  I know from the experience of a close family member.  Fortunately her mother listened and it only happened once. If mom hadn’t listened then when it came out later I doubt she’d have been able to live with herself.  It was hard enough to know it happened once.

    On the other side of this, if a parent ever expressed concern, whether openly or veiled behind niceties, with me being alone with their child I’d shrug my shoulders and make sure we’re not alone.  I would never, ever harm a child, but they may not know it.  Its not something to take personally.

    • SnowFargo

      The radio piece makes clear that children and babies are abused not only by strangers and babysitters, but by members of their own family. In fact, more child victims are abused by family members than by strangers. 

      How should a mother interpret her child’s screams of terror or just expressions of discomfort around good old Granddad or Uncle Joe? Objectively, the answer should be the same: take the child’s feelings seriously. But realistically, if Dad comes across as a loving husband and father, Mom is going to have an impossible time keeping the kids away from him or even believing that he could possibly be raping their children. What happens then?I don’t have an answer.  But it’s worth asking the question and raising awareness that any mother who sees this kind of behavior in her kids needs to pay attention, regardless of who the person is.

  • annarbor22

    Simplulo, read the boston globe article. This wasn’t just one photo.

  • Valerie Smith

    Just heart wrenching to listen to.  I ardently hope they find those responsible.

    • AF_Whigs

      I agree.  This is such a difficult subject, but we need to know that it’s happening.  The people who work to catch these sick people are to be commended, and I can only imagine how gutwrenching their work is.

  • EGuest

    do you have any suggestions as to what someone can do if an email of such content were to show up in their own inbox/how one can help get the sender caught even if they themselves aren’t a government employee? i think this information could be helpful for people to know about!

  • Kilingtonskier

    IT IS ASKED WHY THE HUMAN RACE BEHAVES THE WAY IT DOES.
    We are born to a one and only reference—our parents or guardians. What we get from them is input that will wire our brain for kindness, caring, tolerance and love. This will also require reasonable limits. This does not happen often enough—unfortunately. The Armies of Germany and Japan, (along with countless others throughout history) committed the cruelest, most atrocious carnage ever witnessed. Any child that had been brought up with love and care would never have participated. Certainly not I— I would rather die than harm any helpless child or individual.  Down through the ages we as a society we have put up with the idea that children are inherently bad or sinful and need to be “reined in”. A “poisonous pedagogy” as described by  psychiatrist Alice Miller in her book titled “For their Own Good” Hitler was beaten to a pulp almost daily as a child. Hitler was tough and got even with the entire world. Hitler was never shown an ounce of love or tenderness (and look what he did). Children are not an easy teach. They are born to ask questions and investigate if they are healthy. Parents and to a lessor extent, schools and mentors need to treat children with an open minded, kind. caring demeanor—not a closed minded cruel indifference. An observation from the novel about the brutal murders of four women titled “Murder At Yosemite” by Carlton Smith provides a statement made by a number of psychiatric experts —”It is possible that male rage toward women begins at an early age. Many studies of psychopathic personalities in prisons has indicated that the essential “Bonding” that needs to take place between mother and child never occurred in the case of psychopathic personalities, for whatever reason. — The small child is utterly dependent on parent for food, care and most of all love. Thus the “abandonment issues” referred to by some experts have in fact engendered rage by males toward females that dates back to the earliest years of consciousness.” 

    And what does many in our society say about this? “This kind of thinking ensures that the perpetrator gets off with a lighter sentence while the “poor” parent or guardian shoulders both the pain of his or her actions, but the guilt that goes with their upbringing”. —Thus avoiding the need to change the way we look at child rearing. 

    In closing—we insist on the three “Rs” as a mandate for educating our children, while leaving out  what I feel to be the most important, and should be offered from K thru 12 and titled , “The Human Condition from Birth to Death”. 

  • Al Rodbell

    I caught the last ten minutes of the radio story this morning and was profoundly disturbed on many levels.   In the 1980s there was a rash of accusations of Satanic sexual abuses at day care facilities by teachers.  This was  fomented by Psychologists who used a procedure of cajoling children to tell stories that they described as recovered memories.   Hundreds of innocent lives were ruined as now it is universally concluded that the teachers were absolutely innocent. 

    I have no reason to doubt that what is described here, the literal rape of infants, did occur.  Unfortunately such abhorrent actions by a minuscule number of men, because of the horror of the crime and vividness of the descriptions will have an effect disproportionate  to the aggregate harm done to children.   While the number of children maimed and killed by drunk drivers is thousands fold greater than this crime; as details of this crime is promulgated every man who smiles a child will arouse a glimmer of suspicion in a mother’s heart.   The message will be conveyed to children not to trust anyone, especially those that they have a natural affinity to. 

    There will also be a conflation with the rare crime of violent child sexual rape with possession of child pornography.   Even now, as confirmed by the Supreme Court, possession of such images of children,  can be punished as severely as murder.   While possessing such images ultimately does have a victim, the child who was filmed,  it is rarely even remotely as direct as the network described in this criminal conspiracy.   Punishing such possession as severely as those who slaughter children in an aberration of justice that has adverse consequences that must be redressed.

    A child is vulnerable to every kind of harm from kidnapping to bullying…..the list is endless.  While this story had to be told, the inherent inflammatory element should have required that the caveats against over reaction be part of the story.  Certainly a parent must go with his/her instincts but this very crime changes their own sensitivity to the possibility of such bizarre perversions.  

    For every person who would sexually assault an infant, there are untold thousands who would risk his life to save a child from harm.  This is a reality that must not be lost in telling this tragic story. 

    Alrodbell.com 

     

  • roma_cranberry

    This was terribly difficult to listen to (and the article likewise hard to read – I had to walk away for a bit) so it’s difficult not to respond “emotionally.” It just wrenches at your heart, thinking of these little voiceless children being used for fun.

    The photos and bios of the men involved (linked to the Boston Globe story) show for the most part, banal, mainstream, “average” men.
    Are there early clues, even early-in-life, that point to the likeliehood of predatory pedophilia?
    If so, is there anything anyone can do to prevent the behaviour? Schools, counseling, medical intervention – anything?

    Finally, and this may be an emotional response: but I am surprised by how light some of the sentences are.  Especially given that recidivism is pretty much a given.  Whether the crime is actual rape of small children, or distributing or purchasing photos or videos depicting these acts, seems to me that life without possibility of parole ought to be a no-brainer.

  • Attynevin

    I can only think of one thing that would help the situation: a bullet.  These guys deserve a bullet publicly implanted and the rest of them would think twice.  As for the person below who says computer generated child pornography would be victimless…what are you thinking?  Do you honestly think perverts like this would be satisfied with this substitute???  That would only make the real thing only a step away and so easy to go to.  The ghastly, unheard of things that these men are thinking about and doing to children merits eliminating them from among us.  They are monsters we and our children should not have to live around.

  • E.J.

    I have been struggling to get this story out my head, especially after reading full article links.  I feel haunted by the whole thing and can’t imagine what it is like for those closer to it, i.e., the victims, investigators, and reporters.  Tough stuff is an understatement.  

  • Felix Venicew Sr.

    Child pornograhers should be hung by there balls till there balls drag on floor.

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