decade ago, a 10-year-old boy disappeared from his Brentwood,
Maryland, neighborhood. Within weeks, the investigation would
uncover two pedophiles and a larger ring of online child pornographers.
Within two years, it would spawn a major national initiative
that is now the centerpiece of the FBI’s efforts to
protect children from predatory pedophiles in cyberspace.
how the events unfolded: When FBI Agents and Prince
George’s County police detectives went door-to-door
to talk with neighbors following the boy’s disappearance
in 1993, they encountered a pair of suspicious men who had
been "befriending" local children, showering them
with gifts and even taking them on vacation.
followed that the men had been sexually abusing children for
a quarter century. More recently, they had moved online, setting
up a private computer bulletin board service not only to "chat"
with boys and set up meetings with them but also to share
illicit images of child pornography.
in turn, led investigators to a larger ring of computer pedophiles.
When a similar case with national reach turned up the following
year, the FBI realized it was onto an alarming new trend:
sexual exploitation of children via the Internet.
Program Is Born. In 1995, the FBI created its Innocent
Images National Initiative (IINI). Its goals: to break up
networks of online pedophiles, to stop sexual predators from
using the Internet to lure children from their families, and
to rescue victims.
28 of the FBI's 56 field offices have undercover Innocent
Images operations. More than 200 FBI Agents work these cases.
Some pose as teenagers or pre-teens in chat rooms to identify
“travelers” who seek to meet and abuse children.
Others focus on dismantling major child exploitation enterprises.
1995, we’ve opened more than 10,000 total cases and
helped secure nearly 3,000 convictions.
Safe. To report child pornography and/or potential
cases involving the sexual exploitation of children, please
contact the Crimes Against Children Coordinator at your local
FBI Field Office. You can also file an online report at
the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s
CyberTipline at www.cybertipline.com;
these reports are forwarded to the appropriate law enforcement
Innocent Images website
Parent’s Guide to Internet Safety"
Memoriam. So what happened to the missing 10-year-old-boy
whose case started it all? Tragically, he was never found.
It is to him – and to the countless victims of child
sexual exploitation over the years – that the FBI’s
Innocent Images initiative is dedicated.