Central figure in child pornography ring arrested in Germany

said it had detained one of the suspected coordinators of a sprawling child pornography network that had sparked investigations across Germany, authorities said on Wednesday.

The man, from the south-western state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, is the suspected administrator of an online chat forum for paedophiles, Cologne chief of , Uwe Jacob, said.

Director of Criminal Michael Esser described the suspect as a central figure in running the chats.

The man has been remanded in custody, after his was first made public on Tuesday.

Special police forces used a shotgun to break down the door to the suspect’s flat, in order to surprise the man and prevent him from destroying evidence, Esser said, adding that no one was injured during the raid.

Investigators were able to directly access his mobile phone as a result, where they found evidence of several children still being abused, including a 3-month-old baby.

The man abused that infant is also in custody, Jacob said.

The first raid in what has grown into a nationwide search for abusers, was conducted in the city of Bergisch Gladbach in western Germany last October.

Earlier this week, a soldier from the city was sentenced to 10 years in prison  in a psychiatric facility, in the first ruling linked to the scandal.

Seventy-two have been identified across Germany in the case.

“It appears to have reached the middle of society,’’ Esser said.

Three police officers involved in the are said to be suffering from mental illness due to the psychological strain of the work. (dpa/NAN)


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