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Australia: Suicides follow child porn'y crackdown

Publish Date: 07 Oct 2004

Source: Reuters/TVNZTwo more suicides in porn case

Two more Australian men have committed suicide after being caught up in the country's biggest child Internet pornography investigation, bringing to six the number who have killed themselves, police said on Thursday.
Australian authorities have said that up to 500 people could eventually be arrested in the crackdown, which was made public last Thursday, with police making arrests almost daily.
Police have raided more than 400 premises and arrested police, teachers, clergy and a child-care centre owner in the investigation, dubbed Operation Auxin.
"Two people targeted as part of Operation Auxin have taken their own lives," Kim McKay, police superintendent of the southeastern state of New South Wales, told reporters.
A 55-year-old man in the rural town of Albury, 400 km southwest of Sydney and a 31-year-old Sydney man killed themselves after being interviewed by police. Police gave no further details.
"In consideration of this risk, officers were instructed to provide contact numbers for counselling services to persons targeted during the operation," McKay said.
Four men, including a suspended police officer, have already committed suicide after child Internet pornography inquiries resulted in arrests of more than 200 people charged for 2,000 offences.
The four men, one in Western Australia state, two in Victoria state and one in Queensland state, killed themselves after being interviewed by police. Two had been charged.
Those arrested in Operation Auxin face offences ranging from sexual abuse, to downloading and distributing pornographic images to child sex tourism.
Police say some people arrested had child pornography libraries with more than 250,000 images collected over three decades and what appeared to be home studios designed to produce child pornography.
Two New South Wales police officers, one a member of the child protection and sex crimes squad, were suspended on Thursday pending an investigation into the possession of child pornography.
"There are very few professions in society that haven't been affected by this operation," said New South Wales Police Commissioner Ken Moroney.
"I must stress that at this stage, the investigation into both of these officers is ongoing and charges are yet to be laid," said Moroney.
The Australian child Internet pornography crackdown stems from a US investigation in February that produced 95,000 child pornography leads worldwide, say Australian police

© 2004 / Reuters