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The Porn Police

This is a witch-hunt and make-work project


The line between legal sex and the exploitation of children has become blurred in the eyes of self-appointed sex police. Some of these are real police -- who provide their own interpretation of the law to enforce a personal agenda of stamping out anything they disapprove of.

The tone is hysterical, the numbers staggering. Unbelievable in fact. We know that some of the folks being swept up in this witch hunt are innocent. We just don't know how many. If the cops have their way, the judges and juries won't know, either.

Bruce Smollett

. . . They say that the images show children being victimized; they are crimes in progress. Reproducing the pictures revictimizes the children. Therefore there is a problem with providing disclosure of the images to defence counsel. When we seize heroin from a drug dealer, we don't give it back to the lawyer, that is, the accused. Giving copies of the pictures to defence counsel would be revictimizing the children.

. . . These were the comments that Bruce Smollett (right) and Paul Gillespie (right) were spurting in soundbites all over CBC and other radio stations, using that "You'll just have to trust us" tone of voice. Sounds like they really enjoy their work.

Paul Gillespie

They are preparing the public for the notion that people who visited the websites they refer to should be prosecuted with no evidence except of the fact they have visited. We understand a good bit of their project is entrapping people. So, if we believe the Reedy couple were for real, and not part of a trap, we are supposed to accept that anyone who went anywhere near their websites should be thrown in jail and the key thrown away?

Read the press coverage. There is no investigative reporting, no skepticism and a willingness to accept preposterous numbers. As crime in general is going down, the cops have to make work for themselves. Crown prosecutors certainly enjoy the diversion. And defence lawyers are just plain greedy and spineless. Few and far between are the lawyers who will demand full disclosure, get the charges dropped -- or at least in line with the supposed offence.

As more money goes to building jails and hiring cops and less money goes to feeding children, we can only expect treatment of children to get worse. Editorial from February 1, 2003

Internet child porn sweep targets Saskatoon residents

An unknown number of people in Saskatoon are under investigation in connection with a major child pornography probe under way in Canada and abroad.

Acting Insp. Keith Atkinson said the Saskatoon Police Service is "not saying" how many individuals in the city are under investigation.

"We've had a few referrals to us, and we're investigating those," Atkinson said, adding no charges have been laid.

"I know we've got files sent to us, and whether or not those files involve the same person or persons, I don't know. I couldn't comment at all."

Atkinson said the "referrals" came from other police services in Canada.

Neither the RCMP nor Regina city police would confirm participating in the investigation, but said they investigate child pornography on an ongoing basis.

On Thursday, two of Canada's biggest police forces slammed the federal government, saying the government's failure to fight child pornography on the Internet is leaving thousands of Canadians free to trade and make "evil" images of children being sexually abused.

Investigators from the Toronto and Ontario Provincial Police forces told reporters that U.S. authorities handed Canada a list of more than 2,200 Canadians who had subscribed to a Texas-based child porn Web site.

More than two years later, only between 50 and 100 have been arrested in what has become Canada's largest child porn investigation, they said.

Federally co-ordinated investigations in the U.S. and Britain, relying on names gleaned from the same seized database, have resulted in large numbers of arrests. In Britain, more than 1,300 people, including 50 police officers, face charges as part of the probe that recently ensnared rock star Pete Townshend.

"Unlike the United Kingdom and the United States, we in Canada do not have a national operational strategy to deal with large-scale Internet child pornography investigations," said Det. Sgt. Paul Gillespie of the Toronto police sex crimes unit.

In Canada, the probe is called Operation Snowball -- so named because busting one offender leads to many more.

Ontario is home to 946 of the people named by the FBI.

The count for the other provinces is: 52 in Saskatchewan; 436 in Quebec; 406 in British Columbia; 232 in Alberta; 82 in Manitoba; 61 in Nova Scotia; 35 in New Brunswick; 20 in the former Northwest Territories; eight in Newfoundland; six in Prince Edward Island and four in the Yukon.

Sgt. Al Stickney, of the Saskatoon Police Service's technological crime unit, said Saskatoon is not immune to child pornography since the Internet connects people across the globe.

"Anything you can do on the Internet, you can do here and you connect to people all over the world, and that's why we get referrals from all over the place," he said.

Stickney said since the investigation involves a credit card database, police have to interview suspects and hunt down credit cards and account information. He added that suspects may or may not "have the stuff that they purchased or downloaded.

"It's something that they may have kept, or it's something that they may not have kept. That's where sort of the teeth of the investigation is -- do these people still have this and what have they done with it?"

According to Stickney, there's "a fair amount of people possessing child pornography" in Saskatoon, and the police service has seen an increase in those types of investigations. He attributed the increase to an "awareness that it's out there" and to the availability of it on the Internet.

"The general public's disgust with the notion of it is what prompts people to call us, I think," he said.

Suzanne Thebarge, spokesperson for federal Justice Minister Martin Cauchon, rejects police criticisms about the government's pace in fighting child pornography and says Ottawa is indeed working with the provinces to strengthen Canada's ability battle the issue.

She cited Bill C-15A, which made Canada's child-porn laws the toughest in the world when it was passed by Parliament last year.

It created new offences "to target criminals who use the Internet to lure and exploit children for sexual purposes and to transmit, make available, export and intentionally access child pornography."

Last year in Saskatoon, numerous individuals headed to court as a result of child porn charges.

Police experts found that Kevin Hudec, for example, had downloaded hundreds of images over several months -- as many as 176 pictures in a single day. One of the photos showed a man urinating into the mouth of a girl, between five and seven years of age.

The 32-year-old's porn collection cost him two jobs, and got him a one-year conditional sentence that he can serve from home, followed by one year of probation.

In another case, former Saskatonian Joseph Paul Vanderauwera, 46, is set to stand trial this year on three charges of possession of child pornography, including digital photographs and text files.

Saskatoon police laid the charges nearly two years ago, after searching his home as a result of a tip from a local computer shop. Vanderauwera was released on bail soon after the charges were laid, on strict conditions that he have no contact with children under 18 and not possess or use computers or access the Internet.

Police arrested him last year, charging him with breaching those conditions by using a computer in his home to chat on-line with an undercover police officer posing as a man who shared Vanderauwera's alleged fetish for wearing diapers.

Stickney said police can seize an individual's computer if a complaint is received. He said if a charge is laid, part of the conditions of that charge could be that an individual has no access to the Internet or a computer.

Stickney stressed that people who have computers in their homes should be aware of who is using them and what those people are doing on the Internet.


A breakdown by province and territory of the more than 2,000 Canadian residents suspected of accessing child-porn Web sites but not yet arrested or charged:

Ontario: 946
Quebec: 436
British Columbia: 406
Alberta: 232
Manitoba: 82
Nova Scotia: 61
Saskatchewan: 52
New Brunswick: 35
Northwest Territories: 20
Newfoundland: 8
Prince Edward Island: 6
Yukon Territory: 4

Ontario, Toronto cops slam Ottawa for failing to develop child porn strategy

TORONTO (CP) - The frustrated head of Canada's largest police sex crimes unit excoriated the federal government Thursday for its ham-fisted approach to the growing scourge of computer-based kiddie porn.

Police forces across Canada need a national strategy and more resources to make a meaningful dent in the rampant spread of child pornography, Toronto police Det.-Sgt. Paul Gillespie told a news conference. "International co-operation is a dream; national co-operation is a nightmare," Gillespie said as he detailed less-than-stellar results from Project Snowball, the largest child-porn probe in Canadian history.

"It is time for those responsible on a federal level to live up to their responsibilities. We need help."

Police have arrested only about five per cent of the 2,329 Canadian names on a U.S. Postal Investigative Service list of people suspected of accessing child pornography, Gillespie said.

Provincial police in Ontario have arrested 32 people and laid 42 charges from a list of 267 suspects, while Toronto police have arrested 10 out of 241 names. Another 438 names are in Ontario alone, but outside the jurisdiction of Toronto and provincial police.

Every other province and territory is home to someone on the list. The vast majority - 946, all told - were in Ontario, followed by Quebec with 436 names, B.C. at 406 and 232 in Alberta.

Many of the names are in cities, towns or communities where they fall under the jurisdiction of police forces that don't have the resources or the expertise to properly investigate them, Gillespie said.

"They have no idea how to deal with these complex Internet issues."

In a statement, Canadian Alliance justice critic Vic Toews assailed the federal Liberals for failing to get their priorities straight.

"For years front-line officers have pleaded for federal support to combat child exploitation," he said. "The only response from the Liberals was to slash police resources and enact complex legislation that will do nothing to protect children."

Suzanne Thebarge, spokeswoman for federal Justice Minister Martin Cauchon, said Ottawa is indeed working with the provinces to strengthen Canada's ability to battle child pornography.

"The federal, provincial and territorial governments are taking this matter very seriously and that's why we are continuing to work toward the safeguards in the well-being of Canadian children," Thebarge said.

She denied that the federal government is failing in its efforts.

"I think we are living (up) to our responsibilities," she said. "It's an ongoing process. Children are a priority for this government."

She cited Bill C-15A, which made Canada's child-porn laws the toughest in the world when it was passed by Parliament last year.

It created new offences "to target criminals who use the Internet to lure and exploit children for sexual purposes and to transmit, make available, export and intentionally access child pornography."

Ontario Premier Ernie Eves, whose own government was lauded at the news conference Thursday for funding an expansion of police resources, agreed the time has come for a co-ordinated effort between Ottawa and the provinces.

"I think it would be a good thing for both the federal and provincial governments to sit down .?.?.?to discuss how we can take a much firmer position than we have to date."

Despite the new laws, it's not easy in Canada to investigate, charge and convict someone on child-porn charges, said Ontario police Det.-Insp. Robert Matthews.

Cases often involve months of background investigation and detailed search warrants, while in other countries police can engage in searches and seizures with little more than a one-page affidavit, he said.

"We could certainly use a huge increase in resources to help us fight this very serious problem in our society," Matthews said.

"This is a very daunting task when we go to investigate these crimes; they're not the sort of thing that you spend a couple of days on and then go and make an arrest.

"The resources that it takes to get these cases before the courts and through the courts is staggering."

In Montreal, reports Thursday that police are having difficulty tracking down suspects even though there are more than 400 suspects in Quebec.

Montreal police began investigating about 140 suspects in 2001 but the investigation eventually became public through the media, thwarting arrests, said police spokeswoman Nathalie Valois.

"They stopped using their personal computer because they didn't want to be identified."

Project Snowball was the only significant Canadian offshoot of Project Avalanche, a U.S. investigation that resulted in the arrest of Texas kiddie-porn magnates Thomas and Janice Reedy.

Their business, Landslide Productions Inc., often grossed $1.4 million US per month from subscribers paying as little as $14.95 US to access Web sites with names like Cyber Lolita and Child Rape.

"That would allow them 30 days access to some of the most evil images of child abuse you can imagine," Gillespie said.

Another name on the global list was that of legendary British rocker Pete Townshend, who claimed he paid to access the Web sites as part of ongoing research into his own suspected abuse as a child.

Townshend was arrested Monday but later released. He has not been charged.

Thomas Reedy, on the other hand, was sentenced in August 2001 to 1,335 years in prison - the first-ever life sentence for distributing child porn, Matthews said.

By contrast, one of the names on the list - Joseph Downey, 27, of Elora, Ont. - was sentenced in October to just 14 months of house arrest after police found more than 500 pieces of child porn on his computer.

Sentences like Downey's are "a joke," Matthews spat.

Child-porn enthusiasts appear to come from all walks of life, Gillespie added - police officers, doctors and schoolteachers are all among those arrested in Canada to date.

He said future investigations are likely to uncover some "very high-profile people."

Investigating kiddie porn is taxing on investigators, who are often forced to look at thousands of images, some depicting infants so young they still have their umbilical clamps attached.

Grim images haunt Porn Police

Police officers leading Canada's largest-ever investigation into child pornography visit psychologists every three months to talk about the abuse they witness, sometimes against babies so young that they're still wearing hospital ID bracelets.

But the detectives chose an audience of reporters Thursday to hear about another troublesome aspect of their work: Among the 2,329 suspects uncovered during more than two years of investigation, fewer than 100 have been arrested.

"We need help," said Detective-Sergeant Paul Gillespie, head of Toronto's sex crimes unit.

The investigators summarized, for the first time, Canada's role in the major child-pornography sweep that has uncovered thousands of suspected pedophiles around the world, including the recent arrest of British rock musician Pete Townshend.

The message has to get out that viewing child pornography is not only reprehensible but a recipe for prosecution

"If you watch a six-month-old baby being raped, you'll never feel the same again. And that's what we deal with on a daily basis," Det.-Sgt. Gillespie said.

The officers also used the investigation to illustrate how Canada's enforcement of child-porn laws is slow, incomplete, starved for money, and "fractured" into separate efforts by various forces.

What's needed is a national strategy by the RCMP for tracking down child-porn collectors, they said, like the systems in Britain, the United States, Ireland, Germany, and Belgium.

"We're not putting in nearly as much effort as other countries," said Ontario Provincial Police Detective Inspector Bob Matthews.

Solicitor-General Wayne Easter disagreed, saying that Criminal Intelligence Service Canada already co-ordinates investigations at the federal level.

"Their point of view on this is basically wrong," Mr. Easter told reporters in Truro, N.S.

"I think we are doing a reasonable job," he added. "We're improving our technology, we're doing better at co-operating nationally and internationally, and so we're making progress and we'll have to continue to make progress in order to impact on that criminal element."

But on a practical level, Toronto and Ontario police said, Canada's approach to child porn depends on the unequal abilities of local police. Rather than sending RCMP officers to investigate when Canadian credit-card numbers showed up on a porn distributor's computer in Texas four years ago, Det.-Insp. Matthews said, officers from the Ontario squad were sent instead.

An RCMP spokesman confirmed that although CISC does act as a conduit to help Canadian police share information on topics such as child pornography, it can't lead investigations.

Suzanne Théberge, spokeswoman for federal Justice Minister Martin Cauchon, noted that at a recent meeting of federal, provincial and territorial ministers, the politicians agreed that stronger measures to protect children from sexual exploitation are needed: "It's an ongoing process," she said.

Ontario Premier Ernie Eves suggested that his government would be willing to spend more money to combat child pornography and endorsed the idea of national collaboration on the problem.

"I think it would be a good thing for a co-operative effort for both the federal and provincial governments to sit down," Mr. Eves said.

Across the country, regional police disagreed about whether Canada's approach to child pornography is adequate.

"The Calgary Police Service doesn't feel that there's an overarching problem, though resources are scarce," said spokesman Brad Swidzinski.

But further north in the same province, a spokesman for the Edmonton police force expressed the opposite view: "The problem of child pornography is far beyond the scope of what a municipal police force can manage," said Wes Bellmore.

The massive investigation began after Thomas Reedy of Fort Worth, Tex., was arrested in September, 1999. He was sentenced to 1,335 years in prison for operating Landslide Productions Inc., which served as an Internet gateway to child pornography from Russia, Indonesia and the United States.

Hundreds of thousands of credit-card records turned up during the bust, leading police to suspects in 60 countries. The list of suspects includes 946 in Ontario, 436 in Quebec, 406 in British Columbia, 232 in Alberta, 82 in Manitoba, 61 in Nova Scotia, 52 in Saskatchewan, 35 in New Brunswick, 20 in the Northwest Territories, eight in Newfoundland, six in PEI, and four in Yukon.

The Canadian branch of the investigation, dubbed Project Snowball, claimed its first arrest in December, 2001, when police apprehended a 41-year-old member of a nudist resort in Winnipeg. Other arrests have included a doctor, a teacher, and a police officer from Brampton, Ont.

An Avalanche of Child Porn Investigators Use Subscription List to Track Down Pedophiles

Nov. 14 - It began on September 8, 1999, when federal agents raided the Fort Worth, Texas, home and offices of Thomas and Janice Reedy.

The Reedys had been operating a business called Landslide Productions, which the FBI suspected sold subscriptions to websites offering child pornography. Investigators called the business the largest commercial child pornography enterprise ever uncovered, grossing as much as $1.4 million in just one month.

In addition to finding more than 70 images of child pornography on Thomas Reedy's computer, investigators found something else while searching the premises. They found Landslide's subscriber list, a database detailing the names and whereabouts of thousands of Landslide customers around the world.

"Now some of those are multiple hits, OK, and some of them are foreign. But the majority of them were in this country," former assistant US Attorney Terri Moore, who helped prosecute the Reedys, told "CyberCrime."

In the end, there turned out to be more than 35,000 individual subscribers in the United States. "So, the subscriber list to me was kind of like the Holy Grail, to get ahold of those people and then start tracking them down and holding them accountable," Moore said.

That's exactly what prosecutors did. After shutting down the Landslide website and securing an 89-count federal indictment against Thomas Reedy, an 87-count indictment against Janice Reedy, and indictments against several foreign webmasters in Indonesia and Russia, federal investigators went after Landslide's individual subscribers. They called it Operation Avalanche.

Investigators formed a task force comprising officers from the US Postal Inspection Service, the Department of Justice, the Dallas Police Department, and 30 of the nation's federally funded Internet Crimes Against Children task forces. Then, the group began targeting the Reedys' customers.

Members of the task force continued to operate the Landslide website, sending email to subscribers and offering them the opportunity to purchase child pornography. Those Landslide customers who responded received controlled deliveries of child pornography made by investigators. Search warrants were executed on the residences of those customers immediately after the deliveries were made. The investigation resulted in 144 searches being conducted in 37 states.

"Putting Landslide out of business was not enough. Those who created the demand for this child pornography, the consumers, were still out there," Chief Postal Inspector Kenneth Weaver said in an August press conference announcing the arrests. "The consumer or user of child pornography is no less responsible for the sexual exploitation of children than is the producer or distributor."

The postal inspector's press conference came just two days after the Reedys' sentencing hearing, which followed a jury conviction. A federal judge sentenced Janice Reedy to 14 years in prison and Thomas Reedy to 15 years for each of the 89 counts with which he was charged. His final sentence totaled 1,335 years in prison.

Following the conviction of the Reedys, Operation Avalanche yielded the arrests of 100 Landslide subscribers around the country. And Weaver insists these arrests are just "the tip of the iceberg."

"The operation will continue to grow. There were literally thousands of subscribers to the websites," he said. "There will be many more arrests in this operation."

Moore said she hopes the arrests continue and that the threat they offer deters would-be pedophiles from committing more crimes.

"What I hope it did was scare them into not trying to seek out child pornography," she said. "I hope it scared them into trying to go get some kind of help for a problem that they have. I hope it prevented a child from being molested. I hope that it sent a message that you will be treated with extreme harshness because you are sick, and we'll lock you up where there aren't any kids."

This article is based on original reporting by "CyberCrime" co-host and senior segment producer Jennifer London.

U.S. Department of Justice

United States Attorney Northern District of Texas

1100 Commerce St., 3rd Fl Telephone (214)659-8600 Dallas, Texas 75242-1699 Fax (214) 767-2898


Thomas Reedy Sentenced to Life Imprisonment in Child Porn Case

United States Attorney Richard H. Stephens announced that Thomas Reedy, age 37, of Fort Worth, Texas was sentenced today to 1335 years imprisonment (180 months on each of 89 counts to run consecutively), by the Honorable United States District Judge Terry R. Means following his December 2000 conviction by a federal jury on all 89 counts of an indictment that charged him with Sexual Exploitation of Minors, Distribution of Child Pornography, and related charges. Thomas Reedy's wife, Janice Reedy, age 32, was convicted on 87 of these 89 counts during the same trial and was sentenced today to 14 years imprisonment by Judge Means. The Reedy's company, Landslide, Inc. was also convicted in December on 89 counts of the indictment and was sentenced today to pay a $6,950,970.28 fine by Judge Means. Thomas Reedy has been in custody since his conviction; Janice Reedy was taken into custody following her sentencing today.

Along with the Reedys, foreign webmasters, R.W. Kusuma and Hanny Ingganata of Indonesia and Boris Greenberg of Russia, were charged with Sexual Exploitation of Minors and Distribution of Child Pornography in the April 2000 indictment. Warrants have been issued for their arrest and the United States will seek extradition. These webmasters designed, launched and maintained websites that offered pictures and movies of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct.

According to evidence presented at trial, the Reedy's company, Landslide, Inc., provided a credit card verification service that acted as an electronic gateway to the pictures and movies of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct at Kusuma, Greenberg and Ingganata's web sites. Internet customers were required to provide a credit card number as well as a charge authorization in order to gain access, by a user name and password provided by Landslide, to the pornographic productions on the web sites. Landslide charged each customer approximately $29.95 per month per site for access to these pornographic images of minors and was the only gateway to these child pornography websites.

The Reedy's and co-conspirator webmasters, Kusuma, Ingganata and Greenberg agreed to share the money collected for the sale of user names, passwords and access to the child pornography. Testimony at trial revealed that between 1997 and 1998, Landslide netted more than $1 million and the Reedy's paid Kusuma, Ingganata and Greenberg approximately two-thirds of the money they collected.

Thomas and Janice Reedy ran the Landslide business from their home in Fort Worth, Texas and from an office in northeast Fort Worth. Thomas Reedy ran the business as its President; Janice Reedy was the bookkeeper and made the payments to the foreign webmasters, Kusuma, Ingganata and Greenberg. According to testimony at trial, when investigators searched Landslide's northeast Fort Worth office in 1999, they found a well-organized operation with over a dozen employees including a computer programmer, customer service representative and a receptionist. An investigator testified at trial that Thomas Reedy told him that Landslide provided customers access to approximately 5700 websites that offered a variety of pornography and that between 30 and 40 percent of Landslide's business came from providing access to websites containing child pornography.

United States Attorney Stephens said, "I'm delighted with this sentence. The Reedy's lived a life of luxury on the backs of the poor children they exploited. Their conduct mandated the tough sentences they received. "

United States Postal Inspector in Charge Al Holmes stated, "Today's sentence reflects the serious intention of the United States Postal Inspection Service as well as the Postal Service to stop individuals and companies from trafficking in child pornography. We will continue our efforts to identify and bring cases such as these to the attention of the United States Attorney's Office for prosecution."

United States Customs Service Resident Agent in Charge Wayne Frandsen said, "Individuals who traffic in child pornography are a plague on our society. The Customs Service will continue to do all that it can to bring these individuals to justice to answer for their crimes."

"Any time the sexual exploitation of children is involved, the FBI will be there," said Danny Defenbaugh, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

United States Attorney Stephens praised the exceptional investigative work of the United States Postal Inspection Service, as well as that of the United States Customs Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Dallas Police Department's Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. The Department of Justice Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section provided invaluable legal assistance in the investigation and indictment of this case.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Terri M. Moore and Ronald C.H. Eddins.

Area homes searched for child pornography

U.S. Customs Service agents searched the homes of a pediatrician and a city council president today for child pornography, executing search warrants in Akron, Cuyahoga Falls, Hudson and Northfield.

Agents executed search warrants on 12 homes and one business in Northeast Ohio and the Columbus area. Officials have made no arrests and are not naming the suspects or saying where the pediatrician and city council president live.

The suspects allegedly were involved in the manufacture, possession and distribution of child pornography over the Internet.

"Part of this investigation has been going on for six months," said special agent Tony Macisco of U.S. Customs in Cleveland. "There was a common thread to all of these people."

More than 50 federal, state and local law enforcement officers conducted the searches early this morning, which included homes in Columbus, Boardman, Ontario, Loudonville, Fremont, Canal Winchester, Scio and Vincent.

Agents seized computers, discs, videotapes and books. The suspects all allegedly received the materials through the Internet by subscribing to various child pornography Web sites.

The warrants stem from previous a previous investigation in New Zealand and "Operation Avalanche" in Texas, which in 1999 uncovered the largest chid porn enterprise in the United States, according to the U.S. Justice Department. Operation Avalanche identified a company known as Landslide Productions of Fort Worth, Texas, which had a 250,000-customer base and grossed as much as $1.4 million a month from selling child pornography on the Internet.

Thomas and Janice Reedy owned and operated Landslide. The company started with the sale of adult Web sites, but expanded to child porn, which accounted for most of the company's profits. Federal search warrants executed on the Reedy's business and home on Sept. 8, 1999, ended the enterprise.

The Reedys and Landslide Productions were convicted on 89 counts in a federal trial on Dec. 1, 2000. On Aug. 6, 2001, Thomas Reedy was sentenced to life in prison, and Janice Reedy was sentenced to 14 years.