16 Arrested in Philadelphia Following Child-Pornography, Prostitution Probe

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Police in Philadelphia have arrested 16 men in connection with child-pornography and prostitution activities in the city.

The arrests came after a two-month investigation by the Philadelphia Police Department's sex-crimes unit that uncovered 4,000 snapshots, films, and slides estimated to be worth $500,000, according to Captain Clifford Barcliff of the department.

The men, most of whom were free on bail as preliminary hearings were held late last week, were thought to have lured about 20 12- to 17-year-old Puerto Rican youths from low-income families in the Kensington section of Philadelphia into performing sexual acts that were photographed, Captain Barcliff said. None of the youths have been arrested.

Three other men are being sought on related charges.

Students Removed

In a related incident, 65 children who were placed by the state in a day-care center in Nashville have been removed after reports that some of them may have been sexually abused.

Many of the children who were removed from Miss Ann's Preschool had been placed in the center by the state because they had been abused or neglected at home, according to a spokesman for the Nashville Police Department.

Some 20 children who were not placed in the center under state contract were not removed from the school, she said.

Local police and the state department of human services began investigating the center when one of the children was found in a medical examination to have been abused, according to the spokesman. The continuing investigation involves interviewing all the children and the center's employees.

Center Closed

In Massachusetts, the state office for children has suspended the license of the Fells Acres Day School in Malden after the owner's son was arrested and charged with raping a 5-year-old boy.

Two other incidents of possible sexual abuse of children by two staff members are being investigated, according to Michael Coughlin, a spokesman for the office, which licenses day-care centers.

Gerald Amirault, 30, was indicted this month on charges stemming from an incident that allegedly took place last spring. Mr. Amirault was employed by the center as the cook and bus driver, according to Mr. Coughlin. He has pleaded innocent and been released on bail pending an October pretrial conference.

Violet R. Amirault, the school's owner, has appealed the order to close the school; her appeal will be heard by the division of administrative law appeals on Oct. 20, Mr. Coughlin said.

The center, which has operated for 18 years, enrolled about 55 students from 15 months to 7 years old.

Vol. 04, Issue 04

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