US Nabs Pedophile Suspect, Ending Global Manhunt

US authorities on Thursday arrested a 58-year-old man accused of sexually abusing young Asian boys, ending a two-day global manhunt sparked by a rare public appeal from Interpol.
    Wayne Nelson Corliss was arrested in Union City, just outside New York City, and later appeared in court in Newark, New Jersey, looking nervous, handcuffed and wearing a grey sweater.
    He was charged with one count of producing child pornography but did not enter a plea and was expected to appear in court again on Monday. Prosecutors said further charges were likely to be added.
    Corliss spoke only to confirm he understood he had been charged and to say he wanted legal representation. He faces up to 20 years in jail if convicted.
    It was only the second time Interpol had made such a public appeal to catch a suspected pedophile, following a search named Operation Vico last year for Christopher Paul Neil, a 32-year-old Canadian who was later caught in Thailand.
    Interpol announced Corliss’s arrest on its website with a photo of the fair-haired, bespectacled suspect with the word “ARRESTED” stamped across it in red letters.
    “The arrest of the suspected child sex abuser … came about as a result of independent tips provided via the Internet to Interpol’s headquarters in Lyon by three individuals living in the United States”, the agency said.
    It said that the man had admitted to molesting the three Asian boys and sharing pictures of the abuse over the Internet.
    The worldwide police agency said its website had about 250,000 visits a day — 10 times more than usual — since it launched its manhunt, codenamed Operation IDent, on Tuesday, when it posted images of the suspect on its site.
    Corliss is accused of distributing hundreds of photos on the Internet of him allegedly abusing three Southeast Asian boys aged between six and 10. The photographs were believed to have been taken in 2000 and 2001.
    Interpol had said Wednesday that its latest appeal produced more than 200 leads — potential names, locations and photos of the suspect — in the first 24 hours.
    Thai and Cambodian police were on high alert after the search was launched. An Interpol official said the photos discovered on the Internet were “typical of pedophiles frequenting sexual tourism hotspots in South Asia, especially Thailand and Cambodia.”
    The suspected child sex predator featured in approximately 100 images in a series of around 800.
    The first pictures of the man were originally discovered by police in Norway in March 2006 on the computer of a convicted pedophile under a file named “Thai_Luv.”
    “In the images of ‘Thai_Luv,’ the offender’s face is clearly shown”, the criminal complaint against Corliss said.
    “The images depict the offender engaged with Asian, prepubescent minors in sexually explicit conduct. The background of the images indicate that the images were taken in Thailand”, it added.
    After receiving the pictures from Norwegian police, Interpol’s child exploitation unit at its headquarters in the French city of Lyon circulated the images to its global network of experts to try and identify the suspect.
    Interpol Secretary General Ronald Noble on Thursday praised the rapid response to the appeal, calling it an “outstanding achievement and credit to the citizens, media and law enforcement worldwide who responded”.
    “Cases like Operation Vico and Operation IDent show us all that keeping our children safe from sexual predators at home in the 21st-century can best be achieved by ensuring that strong local, national and international police institutions cooperate seamlessly across borders and across the digital divide worldwide”,  he said in a statement.
    Christopher Paul Neil, a teacher, was seized in northeast Thailand on October 19 following a worldwide Interpol campaign to track down a man pictured in 200 Internet photos abusing Asian boys.

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