Police have charged a Toronto man accused of running one of the largest child pornography rings ever. Brian Way, 42, was the subject of a three-year investigation that included law enforcement officials from Australia, Canada, Mexico, Spain, and the United States. They found hundreds of thousands of images depicting “horrific acts of sexual abuse — some of the worst [officers] have ever seen,” said Toronto sex crimes investigator Joanna Beaven-Desjardins.
Way was allegedly the center of the ring, which led detectives to 45 terabytes of child pornography. The operation to bust him and hundreds of others was codenamed Project Spade and was, according to Toronto police chief Bill Blair, an “extraordinary example of international cooperation from law enforcement.” Way ran a website called Azovfilms.com, and faces charges of possessing, creating, and distributing child pornography. Over 100 other people were arrested alongside him in Canada, and 76 in the United States. There were also 164 others implicated in the ring around the world.
Police say Way oversaw the creation of child pornography around the world with children from five to 12 years of age, and then sold it. The Toronto Star reports:
Among his alleged Canadian clients are a Chatham hockey coach, a Toronto teacher, a priest and Scout leader in Quebec, and a retired high school principal in Nova Scotia.
In the United States, police officers, educators and medical professionals were among the people arrested.
CNN reports that nine of the 348 people arrested were pastors or priests, and that the investigation rescued 386 children globally from abusive conditions. In one case, a school employee in Georgia (the state) installed a camera in student bathrooms, but most of the pornographic films were produced in Eastern Europe.
Way, who has been in custody since 2011, is scheduled to have another hearing related to his case next month.
Of course, Toronto has had other bad news this week: Mayor Rob Ford has apparently been doing all sorts of un-mayorly things in the city, including smoking crack and threatening people with murder while blackout drunk. And those are just the things there are videos of. Yet Ford refuses to resign, despite overwhelming pressure on him by the media and the city council to do so.