An international investigation into the website boylover.net has culminated after three years with 184 arrests and the rescue of of 230 children so far in what Ars Technica calls "the largest sex abuse case in history." The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Center (CEOP) reports that offenders targeted in the case span the globe, from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Europe, the United States and Thailand.


Boylover.net, whose owner was discovered in Holland in 2008, presented itself as "a 'discussion only' forum where people could share their sexual interest in young boys without committing any specific offenses, thus operating 'below the radar,'" the CEOP report explains. "Having made contact on the site, however, members would move to more private channels such as email in order to exchange and share illegal images and films of children being abused." Before it was busted, the site claimed 70,000 members, according to the Associated Press, which says the group of 184 already arrested in the raid includes "teachers, police officers and scout leaders. One Spaniard who worked at summer youth camps is suspected of abusing some 100 children over five years."

These are not the first arrests made in association with the site. In 2009, at least four men in Georgia were arrested in association with the site, one of whom was believed to have created boylover.net in the U.S. before sending it to the Netherlands. According to the CEOP, the site has officially been shut down and a total of 670 offenders are being investigated worldwide.