May 25, 2005

3 priests among suspects in child porn ring

Daily Bulletin

By Aidan Lewis, Associated Press

ROME- Italian police raided the homes and offices of 186 suspected members of a child pornography ring including three Roman Catholic priests and a local mayor who downloaded pictures from an exclusive Web site, officials said Tuesday.

The group downloaded photos and video of sexual abuse against children, whose ages ranged from 4 to 8, from a Web site that could only be entered with a password, said a police officer in the Sicilian town of Syracuse, where the investigation was based.

The officer, who cited office policy that he could not be identified, said the site had operated for nine days before authorities closed it down in July after receiving a tip from Telefono Arcobaleno, a local association that scans the Internet to combat child abuse.

Police searched the homes and offices of 159 suspects in 16 of Italy's 20 regions Tuesday, the official said. The remaining 27 suspects had their homes and offices searched in recent months.

During the searches, police seized child pornography videos from computers owned by the three priests and were studying some homemade videos confiscated during the raids in an attempt to identify where the children were filmed and who filmed them, authorities said.

Posted by kshaw at May 25, 2005 07:07 AM