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Mount Pleasant Police Chief Case Child Porn Sweep Leads To Arrests

The arrest of the Mount Pleasant Police Chief has helped lead authorities to the arrest of 70 internet porn suspects in the New York City area.
The arrest of the Mount Pleasant Police Chief has helped lead authorities to the arrest of 70 internet porn suspects in the New York City area. Photo Credit: File photo

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- The recent arrest of Mount Pleasant Police Chief Brian Fanelli on federal charges of distributing and receiving child pornography has led to a five-week investigation and 70 arrests by authorities in the the New York City area.

New York City Police and Undercover Department of Homeland Security Investigators have identified and arrested dozens of suspects including a rabbi, a little league coach and law enforcement and security officers using a website to solicit suspects, according to NBC New York and other reports.

The investigation showed that the suspects allegedly uploaded or file-shared the illicit pictures without knowing they were doing so on a law enforcement website, authorities said.

Fanelli pleaded not guilty this week to federal charges. He allegedly told investigators he began looking at child porn as research before it grew into a "personal interest."

Authorities said the victims of the recent arrests who were sexually exploited and photographed range in age from an infant to 17 years old.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children is aiding in the ongoing investigation, using its analysts to help identify children using databases of known victims.

"We refer to each of these images as a crime scene photo because that's exactly what they are,'' John Ryan, the organization's chief executive officer, said in a statement.

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