German prosecutors have dismantled a major online platform, known as ‘Elysium’, that was used to organise the widespread abuse of children, after an investigation that took many months of work.
The site administrator has now been arrested, and is reported to be a 39-year-old man from the Limburg-Weilburg district who is now being questioned in custody. Officers discovered the server used to store the site’s data on the dark net in the man’s apartment to the north of Frankfurt.
It is believed that the site administrator is the person who created the site’s technical infrastructure. Elysium was on the dark net, meaning that it was only accessible through the use of encryption technology. The dark net is a space beneath what can usually be viewed on the internet, used to trade illegal materials such as drugs, weapons and child abuse images.
Other administrators and members of the ring have been identified, and further arrests have been made. Most of the perpetrators were living in Germany or Austria and some have been accused of committing grave sexual offences against children.
Frankfurt prosecutors have released the following statement:
[Elysium] was used for global exchanges of child pornography by its members and to arrange meetings to sexually abuse children,
The vile website was used by its 87,000 members to share indecent images and video files depicting child abuse. According to Frankfurt prosecutors, the images and videos shared showed: “the most serious sexual abuse of children, including babies, and representations of sexual violence against children”.
More details are expected to follow as the case develops.