Police in France arrested 61 people in a mass crackdown on a child pornography ring in the country, local media reported.
The operation, called Police2Pedo, has been carried out by 220 police officers throughout 30 departments in France. Hundreds of phones and laptops along with other electronic devices have been seized from the suspects, 60 of them male and one female.
“This shows that the downloading of child pornography files is not trivial,” franceinfo TV quoted Eric Berot, the head of the Central Office for the Suppression of Violence Against Persons, as saying.
Under his charge are 60 investigators who are employing software from a US non-profit organization Child Rescue Coalition, which is used by the FBI to read into peer-to-peer networks, which allow users to directly exchange files without going through a server.
The operation has led to the discovery of hundreds of thousands of child pornography photos and videos.
Four of the suspects have been accused of rape of a minor — all while being filmed. One of them, a computer scientist, admitted to raping his 14-year-old daughter since the age of nine.
Those accused are teachers, religious leaders, professionals, politicians, and a sports educator who filmed children while in the locker rooms.
“These arrests include everyone, all trades, all social classes, from merchants to managers, from white collar to blue collar, of all ages, from 28 to 75 years old, from all family situations, single people, those in a couple, with or without children,” said Berot.
The suspects remain in police custody.