Arthur Martin and Rachel Watson
London – More than 30 million images of child sex abuse have been discovered and over 500 young victims have been identified by a major police operation.
Police in Scotland have charged 77 people with crimes against children, including the rape of some as young as three.
Other charges relate to sharing indecent images of children, grooming for sexual purposes, sexual extortion and indecent communication with children.
In one case, a computer with ten million images depicting child abuse was found. Police said it would take four full-time officers six months just to view the images uncovered.
Of the 523 victims and potential victims, 122 have been referred to child protection services.
The crackdown, called Operation Lattise, involved 134 separate investigations, carried out between June 6 and July 15. The victims were identified after the homes of 83 people were searched and 547 computers and other devices were seized.
Assistant Chief Constable Malcolm Graham of Police Scotland said some of the material involved abuse of babies. He described the online grooming of children and sharing of indecent images as a “national threat”.
Almost 400 charges have been brought so far – but police expect this figure to rise as they identify more suspects. Of those arrested, six are already registered sex offenders and four were in “positions of trust”. One suspect was found to be communicating with more than 110 children. …
Meanwhile, police probing an alleged sex abuse cover-up by Church of England leaders have interviewed Australian victims.
Former archbishop of York Lord David Hope of Thornes, 76, is being investigated for possible misconduct in public office over his handling of complaints of abuse by a fellow clergyman.
The late Rev Robert Waddington was suspected of having raped pupils at a north Queensland boarding school in the 1960s before allegedly abusing choir boys as the Dean of Manchester.
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