UK Member of Global Pedophile Ring Receives 7 Year Sentence

Published: 23 December 2023

NCA Thorogood JohnJohn Thorogood, 75, from London, was part of a pedophile network which was organizing trips for the purpose of sexually attacking children. (Photo: National Crime Agency, License)

By Erika Di Benedetto

British authorities sentenced another member of a travelling child abuse network Wednesday to seven years in prison, after he was caught sexually abusing young boys in Morocco.

John Thorogood, 75, of London received a sentence of seven years and eight months for his role in an international child abuse network, whose members circled the globe together to sexually prey on young children. For Thorogood in particular, his youngest victim was identified as a one-year-old.

“The scale of this network is unprecedented,” said Phil Eccles, Operations Manager at the U.K. National Crime Agency (NCA). “A significant amount of planning went into every trip, each of which centered on abusing children. They then cataloged and shared the photographic evidence of their abuse between them, further victimizing the children.”

A joint international investigation involving the NCA, Dutch authorities, and Europol identified Thorogood as a member through a series of images shared within the network. These photos depicted his sexual abuse of prepubescent children in Morocco in 2012.

Known to others in the pedophile ring as “The Trader,” Thorogood communicated and shared material depicting child abuse with his fellow molestors through encrypted emails.

Authorities said that they decrypted more than 200,000 illegal images on his phone and computer, some of which he had taken himself. The images of the abused children were captured with the same camera used to photograph his luggage, displaying the itinerary tag for his trip from London to Casablanca.

In August 2023, Thorogood pleaded guilty to multiple crimes including: sexual activity with a child, soliciting a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity, two counts of sexual assault against a child under 13, and three counts of producing indecent images of children.

These offenses stack on top of previous convictions levied against him in 2021 for the possession of indecent images of children.

Thorogood will be subject to a sexual harm prevention order for 15 years, in addition to having his name added to the country’s sex offenders registry for life, the NCA said. Upon release from prison, he will face a five-year worldwide travel ban.

Morrocan media criticized Thorogood’s light sentence, noting that, according to U.K. law, “sexual assault or inciting a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity requires a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison.”

Another member of the child sex ring, Christopher Behn from Essex, is currently serving a 17-year sentence for sexually abusing boys in Southeast Asia during a gauntlet of more than 20 trips between 2008 and 2018.

Four other men suspected to be members of the syndicate have also been apprehended by the NCA.

Investigations into child sexual assault in Morocco have discovered an alarming surge in recent cases, with 3,295 documented rapes in 2022 alone.

According to a report by We Protect Global Alliance, an organization dedicated to protecting children from sexual exploitation, there has been an 87% increase in reported instances of child sexual abuse material since 2019, with over 32 million cases worldwide.