Cyprus Mail
Cyprus

Police investigating child porn case involving soldier

By Peter Stevenson

POLICE are investigating one of the most serious cases of child pornography and grooming they have ever come across in Cyprus after an 18-year-old soldier was remanded in custody.

The initial report was made by a 14-year-old boy who has remained anonymous to Cyprus’ safer internet centre, Cyberethics during the holiday season in December.

Cyberethics co-ordinator Elena Aristodemou told the Cyprus Mail on Friday that the boy was scared and wanted to remain anonymous but felt the need to report the incident.

According to reports an 18-year-old man had allegedly created a fake account on social networking site Facebook where he pretended to be a girl in an attempt to entice young boys to send him naked photos of themselves.

The 14-year-old told Cyberethics that he had sent a naked photo of himself to this alleged female but that he had become suspicious.

“We advised the boy and encouraged him to go to the police but he did not want to get involved so we acted on his behalf and gave the case information, without his name, to the Cyber Crimes Unit who we cooperate closely with,” Aristodemou said.

She said that the police carried out an investigation and informed Cyberethics that they had found the suspect and had obtained a warrant for his arrest.

Head of the Cyber Crimes Unit Andreas Anastasiades explained that officers used the internet protocol (IP) address allegedly being used for the Facebook account to locate the 18-year-old.

“We went ahead and arrested the 18-year-old on Wednesday on suspicion of grooming young children online and after questioning him he admitted to creating a fake Facebook account and of convincing young boys to send him naked photos of themselves,” Anastasiades told the Mail.

A total of 130 photos and 14 videos were found on his computer which contained underage pornographic material.

He was remanded for eight days on Thursday by Nicosia District Court.

One of the videos is believed to be of the 18-year-old and a younger boy having sex in Cyprus. The head of the Cyber Crimes Unit said that the other videos were also filmed in Cyprus and that investigations were taking place to confirm it.

“We are currently trying to locate the children who were in the photos and videos to ask them if they can make a statement to police so we can build a stronger case against the suspect,” he said.

Anastasiades said that in line with child protection laws the police are permitted to record a minor’s testimony as evidence in a case to shield the child from the ordeal of having to appear in court.

“This is one of the most serious cases we have dealt with in regards to child pornography and grooming but it would appear we have our suspect, the only problem is convincing his victims to come forward,” Anastasiades said.

 

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