16 Indicted in ‘Orchid Club’ International Child Porn Ring

Sixteen people across the nation and abroad were indicted in San Jose (July 16th) on charges that they participated in a private child pornography club through the Internet, federal officials said.

The case appears to be the first in which child pornography on the Internet has been linked to an incident of child molestation that was transmitted online.

Authorities arrested 13 suspects who were allegedly members of an online chat room called the “Orchid Club.”

Prosecutors said members produced and traded child pornography involving victims as young as 5 years old, swapped stories of having sex with minors and in one instance chatted online while two suspects molested a 10-year-old girl.

Many of the subjects not only viewed this child pornography but actually took part in assembling it and producing it themselves,” said George Grotz, FBI spokesman in San Francisco. “That’s what makes this case unique from other cases.”

The Monterey County Sheriff’s Department uncovered the group in April. Further investigation by the FBI and the U.S. Customs Service led to 13 arrests across the country, from Oklahoma to Illinois to Massachusetts. The group also included members from Australia, Canada and Finland who have been identified only by their computer screen names.

According to a 24-count federal indictment, Melton Lee Myers, 55, of Santa Rosa and Ronald Riva, 38, of Monterey County in April fondled a 10-year-old girl in front of a digital camera connected to Riva’s computer. The images were transmitted to other Orchid Club members, the indictment states.

Later that month, Myers held what he called a “pedo party” at his home in which he and three other members discussed activities connected to the sexual exploitation of children, according to the indictment.

Each of the 16 defendants was charged with conspiracy to possess and distribute child pornography. Six of the suspects, including Myers and Riva, were also charged with aiding and abetting in the sexual exploitation of children, authorities said.

If convicted, each defendant faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each count of the indictment.

According to the indictment, individuals who wanted to join the Orchid Club had to be nominated by an existing member and undergo an initiation rite in which they would “recount a personal experience involving their sexual activity with a minor.”

Club members received a password to gain access to the chat room and acquired status within the group by producing and trading child pornography, according to the indictment.

Source: https://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Child-Porn-Ring-On-the-Internet-16-Indicted-2974517.php

There were at least 4 ‘suicides’ of suspects in the pedophile ring.

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