Twenty-six New Yorkers — including an elementary school substitute teacher and a children's shoe store worker — have been arrested for possessing videos and images depicting child sexual assault, prosecutors said Tuesday.
"The defendants in these cases traded images of child sexual assault in the way that others trade baseball cards," said Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr., who announced that some computer files show children, some as young as a year old, being forced into sex acts.
The defendants are accused of stockpiling tens of thousands of the violent images. The announcement comes at the end of a five-month joint investigation by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and federal investigators.
"This is a huge arrest," said Parry Aftab, founder and director of WiredSafety, an internet watch group. "It's one of the largest arrests you've seen of child pornography defendants in the world."
The defendants face two to seven years in prison, Vance said.