Framed for Child Porn
Inspired by the Story of Ned Solon
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Child porn task force arrests 44
Child porn task force arrests 44

by Marcus E. Howard, The Marietta Daily Journal
February 01, 2010 01:00 AM

MARIETTA — Recently, a task force called the Internet Crimes Against Children, whose job is to catch online predators and child pornography in the state, arrested 44 people and seized 279 computers and other devices in 34 counties, including Cobb.

The statewide pornographers sweep on Jan. 12 was believed to be the largest such investigation in the nation. It’s also a sign of just how prevalent child exploitation is.

The sweep was the culmination of a three-month-long investigation that included 24 local agencies, four federal agencies (FBI, ICE, Secret Service and U.S. Postal Service), all three U. S. attorneys’ offices in Georgia and the state attorney general’s office.

Special Agent in Charge John Whitaker heads the ICAC. The federal program, run by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, trains Cobb police and other law enforcement officers at 107 affiliate agencies statewide, to work child exploitation cases.

In 2009, the ICAC task force made at least 149 arrests. In 2008, it made 109 arrests. In 2007, it reported making 103 arrests, the most of any ICAC task force in the nation that year.

At last check, there were more than 45,000 computers in Georgia trading child pornography, Whitaker said.

In November, the GBI issued two, separate warrants for the arrest of Richard James Mcallister, 28, of Kennesaw, and Bernard Ian Tanner, 45, of Marietta.

Mcallister was arrested at his home at 10:50 a.m. Nov. 10. He was charged with three counts of felony sexual exploitation of a child. Authorities reported finding lewd video files of nude girls between 8 and 12 years old engaging in sex.

Tanner was arrested at his job at Marietta Drapery and Window Coverings days later at 11:30 a.m. Nov. 16. He was charged with three counts of felony sexual exploitation of a child. Investigators reported finding printed images and computer movie files of girls between 5 and 11 years old engaging in various sexual activities - including with other female minors, a male minor and an adult male - in his locked bedroom.

Both men were being held on $15,000 bonds each at the Cobb County Jail, according to the Cobb Sheriff’s Office.

Tens of thousands of people in Georgia are estimated to be trading images of child pornography, said Whitaker. “Anybody can take any number of child porn images and put them on their computer and show others willing to share these images,” he said.

Much of the sharing is done on peer-to-peer networks, like BearShare and Kazaa, Whitaker said. The images originate two ways, he said, either from people sharing the images for profit over a server, or from people abusing children close to them.

“Some people out there are very specific in the porn they want,” said Whitaker.

A common way ICAC tracks cases of child exploitation is by finding the Internet Protocol addresses of computers involved in network sharing. The task force then seeks subpoenas to obtain the account information of the suspects. After further intelligence research, ICAC requests search warrants and coordinates with local police to make arrests. Quarterly meetings are conducted by ICAC with affiliated agencies.

The material that is seized by authorities gets sent to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in Alexandria, Va. The private, nonprofit serves as the national resource center and information clearinghouse for missing and exploited children.

Investigators with the Cobb Police Department’s Crimes Against Children Unit work at being proactive, said Cobb police spokesman Officer Joe Hernandez. Cases are initiated based on tips and complaints from the public, as well as the CAC unit’s own investigative work, he said

In July, Cobb police issued a warrant for the arrest of Anthony Emmanuel Duran of Atlanta after receiving a complaint. Police reported that he was in possession of 133 child pornography images at a residence on Allgood Road in Marietta. Nine of those images depicted an infant involved in sexual activity, according to the warrant. Duran has not been arrested.

“We are proactive about attempting to locate individuals like this,” Hernandez said.

Child pornography is a billion dollar industry worldwide, said Whitaker.

“A lot of times, the problem is you don’t know who the children are,” he said.

One way authorities try to find the children captured in child pornography is to compare images they find when they create computer labs during law enforcement conferences. For example, a photo in one image may contain a landmark in the background found in a different photo, that can help investigators pinpoint where material is being produced.

They also identify series of child pornography that gets circulated around. For example, the so-called “RCA Series” of child pornography was named so because a girl in Stephens County in northeast Georgia was recorded on a RCA videotape by her stepfather.

Whenever a child is identified, said Whitaker, he or she is placed into the custody of the state Division of Family and Children Services, where counseling is provided.

Jinger Robins, executive director of SafePath Children’s Advocacy Center in Marietta, said parents should educate themselves on how to protect their children from exploitation.

“Also take the time to talk to your children and most importantly listen to your children,” she said. “As so well stated by NCMEC, there is no substitute for a parent’s attention and supervision. Take the time to know your child and listen to their feelings of safety and security.”

SafePath opened in Cobb in 1996. It coordinates activities of agencies and professionals who offer intervention, investigation and treatment for alleged sexually and physically abused children.

The private organization offers two nationally recognized trainings for parents and organizations that assist in educating and empowering parents on how to better protect their children from exploitation and sexual abuse. “Stewards of Children” is a prevention and response program for adults who want to protect children from sexual abuse. The other, “Enough is Enough: Making the Internet Safer for Children and Families, Internet 101,” is designed to empower parents. Call (770) 801-3465 to schedule training.


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