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Gonzales Announces Major Kiddie Porn Bust

CHICAGO, Illinois — An Internet chat room that streamed video of live child molestations has been shut down, and 27 people have been charged with online child pornography offenses, federal authorities said Wednesday.

“We plan to prosecute them and others involved in this vile chat room to the fullest extent of the law,” Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said.

“Molestation on demand and an ever-younger and more defenseless group of child victims are two of the most disturbing trends … investigators see when they infiltrate child pornography rings,” Assistant Secretary for ICE Julie Myers said earlier Wednesday. “This case had both.”

Justice Department and Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said all but one of the defendants has been arrested following an undercover sting operation aimed at closing down the Web site known as “Kiddypics & Kiddyvids.”

Thirteen defendants were charged in the United States, and 14 were charged in other countries.

Gonzales said investigators were particularly disturbed by the live webcasting of the criminal acts.

He said seven child victims of molestation — the youngest of whom was younger than 18 months — have been identified.

Authorities said one suspect, identified as Brian Annoreno, allegedly produced live streaming video of him sexually molesting an infant.

Four defendants are alleged molesters, officials said. Many of the other suspects are charged with possession, distribution or manufacture of child pornography.

In the United States, indictments and criminal complaints were unsealed by officials in Illinois, Tennessee, Michigan, Nevada, Florida, New York, Arizona, Hawaii and North Carolina.

Nine defendants face charges in Canada, three in Australia and two in Great Britain.

Officials identified three defendants indicted for conspiracy to possess, receive, solicit and distribute child pornography: Annoreno of Bartless, Illinois; Gregory Sweezer of Aurora, Illinois; and Lisa Winebrenner of Osceola, Iowa.

A federal law enforcement official who asked not to be identified said they are at the center of the overall investigation.

Four minors under the age of 12 were also shown being molested as video of the crime was being streamed over the Web site.

The indictment said the chat room was maintained by a “host” and various “administrators.” A statement issued by the Justice Department before the news conference said the host was identified as Royal Raymond Weller of Clarksville, Tennessee, who was arrested March 6.

Among administrators identified in indictments are Jason Wilson of Milton, Florida; Michael Burns of Reno, Nevada; Kenneth Fisher of Charlotte, North Carolina; Marcel Deslauriers of Longueuil, Quebec; and Mill Park of Victoria, Australia.

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