Accused Come From All Walks Of Life: Doorman To Architect To Teacher

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — An incredible and, frankly, disturbing series of arrests were announced by the Manhattan district attorney on Tuesday.

In all, 26 people, some who work with children, were busted for trading images of kids being sexually abused, reports CBS 2’s Pablo Guzman.

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Joshua Ruiz prayed with his mother and pastor outside a Manhattan courtroom on Tuesday. He was praying because he is one of the more than two dozen individuals charged with possessing images of children forced into sex.

“These are babies. These are toddlers, and children, being brutally raped, sexually assaulted and exploited by adults, on camera,” DA Cyrus Vance Jr. said.

Cyrus Vance Jr. Says The Images Were “Feeding The Appetites Of Pedophiles Seeking New Victims.” WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell Reports.

The people accused of downloading these images of children come from every walk of life: doormen to architects. Moshe Gerstein, for example, is a corporate lawyer. Miguel Caraballo is a dishwasher at Alice’s Teacup, a restaurant popular with children on the Upper West Side. Ruiz was a substitute teacher whose last job was at P.S. 199. He was removed from the classroom.

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“Mr. Ruiz was arraigned on an indictment charging two low-level felonies. He entered a plea of not guilty and denies the allegations,” attorney Mark Laykind said.

The Manhattan DA said most of these defendants did not know each other. Instead, he said, they went to a file-sharing service on the Internet that specialized in child porn and traded images of children being made to do horrible sexual acts. He said they did it in a way other people trade baseball cards.

“In some cases, the defendants expressed a desire to begin sexually assaulting children themselves,” Vance said.

The DA is now also investigating Ruiz for allegedly assaulting a 3-year-old nephew. Vance said one defendant, an architect, got a 16-year-old in Canada to see the pictures and then talked with the boy using an Internet video chat. The boy’s parents, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, were alerted.

Please stay with CBSNewYork.com for more on this developing story.

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