Thursday, May 27, 2010

U.S. lawyer targets child pornographers in lawsuit

U.S. lawyer targets child pornographers in lawsuit
Wed May 26, 2010 5:54pm

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CHICAGO, May 26 (Reuters) - A Minneapolis lawyer who has filed hundreds of lawsuits against Catholic priests accused of sexual abuse, said on Wednesday he was now taking legal action against people who produce and collect child pornography.

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The lawsuit filed by Jeffrey Anderson in federal court in Minnesota on behalf of an unnamed 9-year-old boy employs a federal law that calls for civil penalties of up to $150,000 for each downloaded image.

Anderson's suit names a 49-year-old Minnesota man who was indicted last week on charges of producing, distributing and possessing child pornography. According to the lawsuit, the accused knew the boy and took pornographic pictures of him.

"We have the ability, through (the suspect's computer) hard drive, to identify everybody who has downloaded that image, and to track them, and to use this law to sue them," Anderson said in a telephone interview from Minneapolis.

Child pornography, which Anderson said had been used by some of the pedophile priests he has sued, is an expanding multibillion-dollar industry, he said.

Federal prosecutions for illegal child pornography have risen sharply to nearly 1,400 cases in 2006, "but these numbers pale in comparison to the millions of existing images on the Internet and the hundreds of new child images being added each day," Anderson said.

"The police do a good job but they only prosecute a certain number of people," Anderson said. "By using the forensic techniques that we have, and working with law enforcement, we have the ability not only to get justice for the victims of child porn, but we can deter the further commission of it." (Reporting by Andrew Stern; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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