Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Forces arrested 1,140 child predators from 41 states during a two-month, nationwide operation, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) announced today.
The 61 ICAC Task Forces, funded through an OJJDP grant program, conducted Operation Broken Heart, a coordinated investigative operation to intensify efforts to identify and arrest child sexual predators during the months of April and May 2015.
The Seattle Police Department ICAC is the lead agency for the Washington State ICAC Task Force, which contributed to Operation Broken Heart II by conducting over 400 investigations, including the following:
- one case involving a subject who traveled to Washington for the express purpose of having sex with a child
- one case resulting in the arrest of a predator attempting to arrange to have sex with a child
- five cases of adults directing materials containing obscenity to minors
- one person investigated for the crime of manufacturing child pornography
- 25 investigations of individuals for the crime of possession of child pornography
- nine arrests of individuals for possessing and sharing child pornography
- three new victims identified
- 254 Cybertips received and investigated
- 16 search warrants served
- Over 12,700 gigabytes of digital data examined
- six presentations with over 330 Attendees
- 195 public awareness events
“The ICAC Task Force program allows law enforcement across the state to work collaboratively in an effort to protect our most precious resource, our children,” said Captain Mike Edwards, Seattle Police ICAC Commander. “We do this by identifying and targeting the predators in our communities whose sole desire is to abuse the trust and innocence of children via the internet without any regard to the extreme harm that is caused to these most vulnerable victims. Efforts like Operation Broken Heart II underscore the effectiveness of law enforcement working closely together across all jurisdictions along with our prosecutorial partners to make a difference to keep our kids safe.”
“Predators use technology in sinister and inventive ways to reach their child victims across state and national boundaries,” said Administrator Robert L. Listenbee of the OJJDP. “Through collaborative efforts such as Operation Broken Heart, ICAC Task Forces and their law enforcement partners are countering these attacks by pooling resources and investigative expertise, increasing their ability to identify and arrest sexual predators and protect children.”
More than 3,000 federal, state and local law enforcement agencies participated in the operation, which targeted offenders who: possess, manufacture and distribute child pornography; engage in online enticement of children for sexual purposes; engage in the commercial sexual exploitation or prostitution of children; and engage in child sex tourism – traveling abroad for the purpose of sexually abusing children in other countries. ICAC Task Forces first conducted Operation Broken Heart in 2014. The task forces also delivered more than 2,200 presentations on Internet safety to more than 186,000 youth and adults during these two months.
“By arresting and prosecuting child predators across the country, our task forces are sending a clear message that we are working together better than ever before to bring these perpetrators to justice,” said Lt. Andrea Grossman of the Los Angeles Police Department, Commander of the Los Angeles Regional ICAC Task Force and chair of the ICAC Public Awareness and Outreach Committee. “The ICAC Task Forces’ dedicated efforts and professionalism help fulfill the ultimate goal of keeping children safe.”
In 1998, OJJDP launched the ICAC Task Force Program to help federal, state and local law enforcement agencies enhance their investigative responses to offenders who use the Internet, online communication systems or computer technology to exploit children. To date, the ICAC Task Forces have reviewed more than 516,000 complaints of child exploitation, which resulted in the arrest of more than 54,000 individuals. In addition, since the ICAC program’s inception, more than 465,000 law enforcement officers, prosecutors and other professionals have been trained on techniques to investigate and prosecute ICAC related cases.
For more information on local cases, the list of ICAC Task Force Commanders is available at: www.icactaskforce.org[external link].
OJP, headed by Assistant Attorney General Karol V. Mason, provides federal leadership in developing the nation’s capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice and assist victims. OJP has six components: the Bureau of Justice Assistance, the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, OJJDP, the Office for Victims of Crime, and the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering and Tracking. More information about OJP can be found at www.ojp.gov.