Participants in an international Internet chat room transmitted live visuals of child molestation and traded thousands of pictures of child pornography, federal authorities said in announcing charges against 27 people in Australia, Canada, Britain and the US.
US and international authorities have charged 27 people who took part in the Kiddypics & Kiddyvids chat room. The youngest child seen in pictures or video was less than 18 months old, US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said on Wednesday in announcing the results of the 10-month investigation.
The defendants include Brian Annoreno of suburban Chicago, who prosecutors say molested an infant and transmitted it live to a viewer in Edmonton, Canada. Annoreno is in federal custody.
"The behavior in the chat room and the images sent around the world ... are the worst imaginable form of child pornography," Gonzales said at a news conference in Chicago.
Investigators identified seven children who were molested on the streaming video, Gonzales said. Four molesters are among those charged, prosecutors said.
Thirteen people have been indicted in nine states on charges that include possession, receipt, distribution and manufacture of child pornography. The other 14 have been charged in Australia, Canada and Britain. One person remains at large. The investigation began with an arrest in Edmonton last May.
Undercover agents gained entry to the chat room and identified the 27 people, initially through their screen names, officials said.