dave-mittlemanFederal prosecutors announced on Wednesday that they had broken up an international online child pornography website that encompassed more than 50 people in the U.S. alone.  The website’s members also spanned several countries.  In fact, the alleged ringleader, Delwin Savigar, is currently serving a 14-year prison term in England sexually assaulting three young girls.  U.S. officials are seeking the extradition of Savigar, as well as several other suspects.

Savigar created and ran the password-protected website from which members could access millions of sexually explicit photos of young children, share their fantasies about having sex with children, and give advice to each other about how to build their photo collections without getting caught by authorities.  To join the group, a person had to be “sponsored” by another member and then voted on by the other members.  The group had about 1,000 members at its peak, but downsized membership to about 500 when U.S. officials took down the website in 2008.

U.S. officials worked with immigration departments, police, and postal agencies across the world to conduct their investigation.  Investigators were able to infiltrate the ring after taking over the online profile of a member who was arrested in Alabama as part of a separate case.