Cd-roms kinderpornozaak Zandvoort 15 - Reuters 20.7.1998

Reuters - 03:10 PM Jul. 20, 1998 PTAMSTERDAM -- Dutch police investigating an Internet-linked ring which allegedly abused infants and toddlers said today that a Belgian antiporn group had handed over computer files believed to contain crucial evidence.Journalists from the Dutch current affairs program Nova brokered the handover to Belgium's special investigations team after police raids Sunday on the group's premises near Antwerp failed to recover any relevant material, police said in a statement. Police said that Marcel Vervloesem of the Belgian group Morkhoven agreed Sunday to travel to the Netherlands to aide their investigation. But today he refused to go, and refused to tell police where the computer files were hidden.Vervloesem was subsequently arrested. He was later released and passed on the discs and CD-ROMs.Morkhoven said last week that it would voluntarily hand over the material, but later withdrew its offer after its reputation was called into question by Dutch authorities and the media.Morkhoven chairman Jan Boeykens said this weekend that the group held thousands of horrific photos, some showing infants as young as 18 months being raped by adults. The group also said it had hundreds of names and addresses in various countries of suspected users and manufacturers of child pornography.The owners of those files, reportedly a 49-year-old man identified by Dutch police only as "U," was murdered in Italy by another suspected pedophile. U is thought to have been a central figure in an international porn distribution network, using his computer shop near Amsterdam as cover.Morkhoven said it obtained the files from U shortly before his death. But it had also said it was given the material by family members who wished to dissociate themselves from his activities.Bank statements recovered by Morkhoven and shown on Dutch television indicate that U marketed a bulletin board called Apollo.For a fee deposited to his account, subscribers could dial direct into the Apollo site and view more than 30,000 kid-porn images."The tips that came in were hearsay," police said. "The police did mount an investigation ... [which] did show U had pornographic images in his possession, but nothing indicated that child pornography was in play."Consequently, no crime was uncovered as possession of pornography is not punishable under Dutch law.Morkhoven says it has evidence linking the computer porn network to a child smuggling racket that stretches from Russia to the United States, Portugal, France, and Belgium.

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