35 arrested for sexually abusing minors with whom they contacted through a dating website

The detainees are men between 20 and 63 years old living in La Rioja, Burgos, Cantabria, Huesca, Navarra, Bizkaia and Malaga

They are considered alleged perpetrators of the crimes of sexual abuse of minors and corruption of minors

The person in charge of the web is also being investigated for seriously breaching the supervision and control of his page

Within the framework of the Hamo operation, the Civil Guard has detained 35 men – between 20 and 63 years old – in La Rioja, Burgos, Cantabria, Huesca, Málaga, Navarra and Bizkaia, as alleged perpetrators in different degrees of participation in the crimes of sexual abuse of minors and corruption of minors.

These people searched a well-known digital dating platform for minors, to establish a relationship of trust and have sexual encounters or to exchange videos and photos with explicit sexual content.

Some of these individuals after having consummated the sexual encounter, did not want to lose contact with them and continued to send them messages to meet and encourage them to continue with the relationship.

The Civil Guard has taken a statement as investigated by the administrator of the platform in Spain since the website where the contacts were made did not keep the minimum measures of moderation and automated review.

Nor did it have the mechanisms that prevent minors under 16 years of age from inserting advertisements requesting sexual encounters with adults.

The Hamo operation began in March 2019 as a result of a complaint filed in La Rioja by the family of a minor under 13 years of age. The complainants detected numerous conversations and messages with adults who wanted to meet the minor for sexual intercourse.

Civil guards of the Organic Unit of the Judicial Police of La Rioja, analyzed the minor's computer equipment and were able to develop communication patterns of the people involved with the minor. The agents found dozens of sexual advertisements on the website, which unequivocally stated the age 13 of the advertiser.

After that, the researchers began monitoring the contact page, in which more than sixteen thousand advertisements of an explicit sexual nature are published daily, being able to verify the existence of another minor who had also published advertisements to have sexual relations with adults .

The high volume of data collected has made it difficult to identify the suspects, where those investigated also used fictitious identities to obstruct police activity.

In addition to the arrests carried out, two separate house searches have been carried out in La Rioja and Navarra, in which computer material and documentation have been intervened for analysis and study.

The judicial authority has required the person in charge of the digital platform to adopt all the security measures, filters and control that exist.

This measure is as novel as it is necessary as it deals with precautionary measures in the digital world of a proactive nature, protected within the framework of the security and preservation of the sexual indemnity of minors.

The detainees and investigated, the police proceedings instructed and the effects intervened for their study have been made available to the Investigating Court number 3 of Logroño (La Rioja), which has led the judicial direction of Operation Hamo.


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