Child pornography has become one of the fastest growing businesses on the internet.
This week in metro Chicago is a good example of a problem that has grown out of control, and the authorities who are trying to rein it in.
Child porn was a father-and-son activity for one pair, according to Kane County prosecutors.
Thomas Babicki, 56, and his 26-year-old son Joel, of Aurora, are charged with felony possession of child pornography on a laptop and on a DVD.
On Thursday in DuPage County, a 46-year-old children's choir master pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography and was sentenced to six months in jail.
Brian Milnikel was music director at St. James the Apostle Catholic Church in Glen Ellyn.
Milnikel and his roommate, Christopher Kontopoulos, 20, were arrested in January. Child porn charges are pending against the roommate.
On October 5th, Bolingbrook resident Aaron Riley, 55, was arrested with what state authorities called one of the largest collections of child porn in Illinois history: allegedly 200,000 videos.
The cases typify a burgeoning business in which investigators say tens of thousands of new illegal images are posted on the internet each week and many times sold.
Child porn is now considered a multi-billion dollar industry.
A new investigative effort by State Attorney General Lisa Madigan called "Illinois Internet Crimes Against Children" has resulted in more than a dozen arrests in eight counties since late August.
"I would've guessed: what, maybe a couple hundred of these perverts within our state," said Madigan. "There are thousands of them; maybe tens of thousand of them."
Those convicted of child pornography charges are required to register as sex offenders, many times for life.
Of the 25,000 sex offenders on the stare registry, 80 percent committed crimes against children, and research has shown that users of child porn are more likely to be child sex abusers.
Investigators estimated that there were 100,000 child porn websites five years ago. The U.S. Justice Department puts the number now at one million.
The most disturbing trend: the popularity of more brutal and graphic sex abuse of children and the availability of photos and videos involving preschool children and even infants.
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children website:
The following safety tips may be helpful in crafting such rules for your family:
To report online child exploitation, send an e-mail to: email@example.com.
To report child pornography, send an e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Attorney General's Child Exploitation Task Force