Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 31 July 2014

Briton 'headed child porn ring'

US prosecutors are seeking to extradite a Briton they say spearheaded an online child pornography ring

US prosecutors are seeking to extradite a Briton they say spearheaded a huge online child pornography ring that once had more than 1,000 members trading millions of sexually explicit images.

More than 50 people had been arrested in several states since the 2008 start of the investigation, US Attorney Tim Morrison said.

Authorities said they were seeking the extradition of several suspects from overseas, including the group's alleged ringleader, Delwin Savigar, 35, of Leyland, Lancashire, who is serving a 14-year prison term in Britain for sexually assaulting three underage girls.

Savigar created and ran a password-protected website from which members could access collections of sexual images - some including as many as a million files - share their fantasies about having sex with children and give advice to each other about how to build their collections and avoid getting caught, according to Assistant US Attorney Steven DeBrota.

Immigration and postal agencies also took part in the investigation, as well as state and local police.

"This is the largest crimes-against-children case brought anywhere by anyone," said Mr DeBrota.

One suspect, 47-year-old Edward Oedewaldt, who was arrested on April 23 in Louisiana, was brought to Indianapolis on Wednesday to face charges of conspiracy to advertise and distribute child pornography and was remanded in custody until his trial. He has pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors said 35 ring members had been convicted of various child pornography distribution charges. Some of them had received sentences of up to 20 years in prison.

Besides Indiana and Louisiana, US suspects came from California, Alaska, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland, Michigan, Virginia and Florida, Mr DeBrota said.

"This was a social networking site, really," he said.

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