Press Release

For Immediate Release
April 1, 2004

Washington D.C.
FBI National Press Office
(202) 324-3691

FBI's Innocent Images National Initiative Targets Internet Pedophiles

Within the past week, the FBI’s Innocent Images National Initiative executed the ninth in an ongoing series of nationwide search warrant operations targeting pedophiles that use Internet groups or chat rooms to transmit and receive graphic images of children being sexually abused. Over the past few months, 112 search warrants have been executed in 31 states. This multi-faceted initiative continues as FBI and U. S. Attorney’s offices across the country prepare additional warrants and indictments.

This investigation was launched by Innocent Images investigators assigned to the FBI’s Baltimore Field Office after a complaint was received from a citizen in Denmark who had discovered that a certain Internet based group was being used as a venue to transmit child pornography. Innocent Images investigators analyzed the information provided by this citizen and a search warrant was thereafter obtained. When the search warrant was executed on a residence in the United States, it was discovered that a father had installed hidden cameras inside his daughter’s bedroom and bathroom and that he possessed images of child pornography. This subject, a member of one of these Internet groups, was immediately arrested. He had been molesting his teenage daughter in addition to a nine-year-old neighborhood girl. To date, dozens of additional subjects across the country have been arrested in connection with this expanding investigation. Those arrested include convicted sex offenders, child molesters and persons in positions of trust or which provide them ready access to children such as youth ministers, camp counselors, public servants and employees of law enforcement agencies. More importantly, numerous child victims have been identified and rescued from abusive environments.

During one search, an entire child pornography production facility was discovered in the basement of an elected law enforcement official’s house, complete with multiple web cameras, digital cameras and computer terminals. This subject had been molesting his 11-year-old stepdaughter and step-granddaughter. During another search, a police dispatcher admitted to molesting his younger sister and a niece. In other cases, one subject admitted to molesting his 12-year-old daughter and his infant granddaughter; one had been molesting his 13-year-old stepdaughter and still another admitted to molesting a four-year-old girl. Approximately 25% of the subjects identified through this initiative possess a criminal history involving sex offenses.

“These kinds of cases truly represent the most abhorrent type of criminal activity that we see in law enforcement,” said FBI Cyber Division Assistant Director Jana Monroe. “While subjects targeted as part of this initiative may feel that these Internet groups provide a unique opportunity to anonymously unite with one another to share images and experiences, the fact is there are no exclusive clubs for pedophiles and there are no sanctuaries for those who commit these deplorable crimes. We will continue to work aggressively with the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, in the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice, U.S. Attorney’s offices and our law enforcement partners throughout the world to identify and prosecute those who engage in the exploitation of our children.”

The cases related to this initiative are aggressively prosecuted under Title 18, United States Code, Sections 2251 and 2252 - Production, Transmission and Possession of Child Pornography, in addition to state and local sexual assault, molestation and other crimes against children statutes.