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Auction Director Held in Probe

June 04, 2005|Wendy Thermos | Times Staff Writer

The director of an art auction TV show has been charged with trafficking in child pornography over the Internet, and officials said the case could bring dozens more arrests nationwide.

Anthony Logan, 62, of Beverly Hills allegedly received and distributed more than 500 images of children in explicit sexual poses before being indicted Thursday by a federal grand jury in Fresno, authorities said.

Logan, who was being held without bail, has pleaded not guilty to the charge. His attorney could not be reached for comment.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agent Scott Brown, who is overseeing the investigation, said Friday that the alleged child pornography ring was "one of the bigger cases nationwide" involving the Internet.

"We have over 120 leads to other possible defendants. I can safely say we've disseminated leads to 30-plus states, as well as internationally," he said.

According to court documents filed in the case, Logan is a partner in Beverly Hills-based CineVision, which produces the show "Fine Art Treasures" seen on DirecTV and Dish Network. A woman answering the phone at CineVision acknowledged that Logan worked there but declined to comment.

The firm's website says the show is viewed by more than 40 million people weekly.

"We consider any child pornography to be extremely serious and offensive, and this was sophisticated child pornography," said Assistant U.S. Atty. Jon Conklin, who is prosecuting the case. According to the federal complaint, some of the photos showed children as young as 2 years old being molested by adults.

U.S. customs officials, who have taken an increasing role in Internet-based child pornography because it crosses international borders, were tipped off to the case in 2003 by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which had been alerted by America Online's legal department to an e-mail image of explicit child pornography.

Investigators traced the e-mail to a juvenile in Fresno who admitted to authorities that he had been trading about 60 similar images with other AOL users for about two months.

A search of his computer revealed e-mails to and from Logan, whose own computer showed extensive trafficking with more than 100 contacts, authorities said.

The investigation is part of the immigration agency's Operation Predator, which Brown said has resulted in 5,700 arrests for child trafficking, exploitation and sexual slavery since July 2003. Nearly 1,500 of those arrests have been in California.

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