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Federal prosecutors announced on Wednesday that they have arrested 71 people after an investigation into a child pornography ring in New York City. Among those arrested are a rabbi, two police officers, a paramedic and a nurse.
Officials said that the investigation was the largest of its kind in the region and took several weeks. Those arrested face charges of sexual exploitation of children, reports The Wall Street Journal.
James T. Hayes Jr., a special agent at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement New York offices, told the media that the investigation proves that child pornographers are not limited to “unemployed drifters.” He explained that, “Many of the defendants are in fact well educated and successful in their private and professional lives.”
Those arrested had large collections of explicit images and videos with children. Many of them have families and one was even convicted of child sex abuse previously. They are all men, except one.
Authorities pointed out that modern technology allows predators to anonymously collect child pornography and easily trade images with others online, notes The Associated Press. During the investigation, they seized 600 computers, tablets, smartphones and other devices.
The investigation is still ongoing, as authorities try to go through and catalog each photo. That could lead to more arrests.
“We refer to each of these images as a crime scene photo because that's exactly what they are,” John Ryan of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children said. That group will also use the images to see if any of the children match any reported missing children.
If any of the defendants are convicted, they could face over 25 years in prison.