Czech police have uncovered a network of individuals believed to be involved in the exploitation of children. The criminals were found to be sharing experiences and advice online regarding how to target children through clubs and associations. The group spans multiple regions, and those accused could face up to 12 years in prison, according to reports from iRozhlas.cz.
Ondřej Moravčík, a spokesperson for the police presidium, confirmed the operation to a radio station. However, the police are currently refraining from disclosing specific details about the case, including the regions where the accused were operating, as they continue to monitor some of the suspects.
Moravčík explained, “The ongoing criminal proceedings have revealed a methodological connection between the perpetrators in different regions. This connection primarily involves the exchange of knowledge and recommendations, as well as a shared modus operandi, namely, the exploitation of leisure or recreational activities for children and young people to commit moral offenses.”
According to Radiožurnál, the group consists of both individuals and clusters of like-minded individuals across various regions. Criminal investigators have conducted multiple searches, filed charges against several individuals, and two men have been remanded in custody by the courts.
The discovery of this network occurred during investigations into child abuse cases in Ostrava and Tábor. In Tábor, a 39-year-old man had been organizing clubs for schoolchildren at primary schools for several years, with detectives uncovering that he had sexually abused more than 10 children in the process. In Ostrava, a 40-year-old man who worked in a club designed to engage children in their free time was also accused of abusing multiple underage children.
These cases were brought to public attention in June, with police spokeswoman Soňa Štětínská noting that the man in Ostrava had worked at a club focused on after-school leisure activities for children. The police had managed to establish instances of rape in several boys. Štětínská detailed the nature of the crimes, stating, “The man, in the course of organizing the activities and events of the club, committed acts significantly affecting the sexual integrity of underage boys aged between 10 and 15 years old, singled out by him. The sexual assaults on these particularly vulnerable victims took various forms and were supposed to have happened during the events carried out by the troop in several locations in our region, as well as abroad, probably from 2000 to the present.”
Initially, the police dealt with these cases separately, but they later discovered the connections between them. The men currently facing prosecution are believed to be part of a larger group suspected of child exploitation in various regions.