Two dozen accused of trading child sex videos

June 14, 2011 8:12:59 PM PDT
Prosecutors say a New York City elementary-school teacher, a children's shoe store worker and two dozen others are part of a perverse underground that swapped photos and videos of children being sexually assaulted.

Prosecutors claim this was a network that traded child pornography like the rest of us would trade baseball cards.

One of those charged was a teacher entrusted with classrooms of children.

Joshua Ruiz hid his face as he walks past photographers.

While waiting for his arraignment, he even huddled with a pastor in prayer.

The teacher is facing serious charges of possessing and trading child pornography.

"We cannot obviously show you these images and if we could, let me tell assure you, you would be shocked and disgusted," Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance said.

All of it was accessible by computer.

"That is really a snapshot of the type of images and videos that are circulating online," said Michelle Collins, V.P. Natl. CT.

26 men from all parts of the city, of many different professions, are being charged in the alleged ring trading the pornography.

The very graphic and offensive material, prosecutors say, involved children as young as one year old.

"These assaults were recorded and decimated online, feeding the appetites of pedophiles seeking new victims," Vance said.

With an elaborate filing system, prosecutors brought serious charges.

"They acted as curators of their collections; labeling, stockpiling, and sharing their cache's of photographs and videos with each other online," Vance said.

Beyond the images, investigators point out, there is a young victim.

"These are not just pornography images. These are pictures of rape. These are pictures of violence. These are pictures of torture," said Parry Aftab, the Dir. Of WiredSafety.

Joshua Ruiz was arraigned and released on $15,000 bail.

"He entered a plea of not guilty and denies the allegations," said Marc Laykind, defense attorney.

But outside one of the schools where he was a substitute teacher, parents were surprised.

The city Department of Education says Ruiz had no criminal record when hired in September 2008 and was removed from teaching after his arrest last month.

The images seized in this investigation will be turned over to The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in the hopes of locating the unidentified child victims.