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Entries in Child Pornography (13)

Wednesday
Dec192012

Feds Seek Help in Finding Child Pornographer, Rescuing Victim

Courtesy ICE.gov(WASHINGTON) -- Federal officials are urgently asking for the public's help to rescue a young child who may be a victim of ongoing sexual exploitation, and to identify and arrest a "Jane Doe" suspected of producing child pornography.

Investigators from Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations are looking for a white female, from 23 to 29 years old, who is believed to have produced at least one long-form video that shows her engaging in explicit sex with a four-to-five-year-old victim. Investigators think the video first appeared on the Internet less than a month ago, on Nov. 27, 2012, which raises the possibility that the child is still being exploited.

"Jane Doe" has a medium build, hazel or green eyes and brown hair with blond highlights. The suspect also has a mole on her left thigh and a tongue piercing. Investigators believe that the video was made in the U.S., and that Jane Doe and the child are in the U.S.

HSI special agents got a tip from the Danish National Police after Danish law enforcement downloaded a copy of the video. The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children determined that the victim had not been identified or rescued.

Authorities request that anyone with information about "Jane Doe" call ICE's 24-hour tip line at 866-347-2423 or fill out an on-line tip form at www.ice.gov.

The criminal complaint against this unidentified woman, which was filed in federal court in Washington, D.C., is the second obtained by HSI's Child Exploitation Investigations Unit in 2012. The first "Jane Doe" suspect was arrested with her husband in Oregon in September after ICE solicited, and received, help from the public in finding her.

Michelle Lee Freeman and Michael Serapis Freeman turned themselves in to local police after tips to ICE identified Michelle as the "Jane Doe" suspect. Two child victims were rescued in that case and the Freemans are awaiting trial.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Sep052012

Parents Charged in Nationwide Child Pornography Investigation

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(SALEM, Ore.) -- A nationwide manhunt for a suspect in a child pornography investigation has resulted in two people arrested in Oregon and two girls rescued from an allegedly sexually abusive home.

Last month, agents from U.S. Immigration Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) sought public help to identify a "Jane Doe" suspect who had been identified in videos depicting two young girls under the age of 10 who the agents said were sexually victimized.

Michael Serapis Freeman and Michelle Lee Freeman turned themselves in to local police after the campaign resulted in tips identifying Michelle Freeman as the Jane Doe suspect.

An acquaintance of the married couple told Michael Freeman that he or she would turn in him and his wife to law enforcement, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials said.

On Tuesday, Michael Freeman contacted the local police in Salem, Ore., to tell officers that his wife was sought by federal law enforcement officials.

Last month, ICE agents obtained a criminal complaint and federal warrant from a U.S. District Court judge in Washington, D.C., to arrest the woman who was unknown to investigators besides her picture.

ICE agents from Los Angeles had been working on the investigation since June 2011, when they executed a search warrant and seized a computer with images said to depict two girls being abused.

A break in the investigation came in June 2012, when the FBI in Colorado seized a computer that had more than 200 images and two videos of the child victims with the images of the female Jane Doe suspect.

After the initial awareness campaign, ICE agents received tips that the Jane Doe lived or worked in the Pacific Northwest. With this information, ICE conducted a more targeted awareness campaign in Oregon and Washington state.

Both Michael and Michelle Freeman have been charged with the sexual exploitation of children for the production of child pornography.

According to ICE officials, an Oregon state search warrant was obtained Tuesday to search the Freemans' home, where law enforcement seized the couple's computers from their residence in Salem, Ore., according to a criminal complaint.

Michael Freeman allegedly told ICE agents that he was in "a bad place," the complaint said.

"I started it. Somehow she [Michelle Lee Freeman] got involved," Freeman allegedly told ICE agents.

Calls to the federal defender's office in Portland to request comment on behalf of the couple about the charges were not immediately returned.

If convicted of the charges, the couple could face 15 to 30 years in prison.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Aug102012

‘Jane Doe’ Sought in Child Pornography Case

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement(WASHINGTON) -- U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is seeking the public’s assistance to identify a woman, “Jane Doe,” who has been accused of molesting two young girls in a child pornography case.

Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents obtained images of the woman, who, along with an unidentified man, allegedly victimized the two girls.  One is believed to be between the ages of 5 and 7 and the other is believed to be between the ages of 3 and 5.

Jane Doe is described by HSI special agents as a Caucasian female, between the ages of 25 and 35 with a medium build, dark brown hair and blue eyes.  She is also identifiable by a large mole on the back of her left thigh.

ICE agents obtained a criminal complaint and federal warrant from a U.S. District Court judge in Washington, D.C., to arrest the woman, who is believed to be living in the United States.

ICE agents from Los Angeles had been working on the investigation since June 2011 when they executed a search warrant and seized a computer with images that they said depicted the child victims being abused.

HSI’s Child Exploitation Investigations Unit’s Victim Identification Program has worked with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) which determined that the children had not been identified or rescued yet.

A break in the investigation came in June 2012, when the FBI in Colorado said it seized a computer that had over 200 images and two videos of the child victims with the images of the female Jane Doe suspect.  An unidentified male in the images has his face obscured and digitally altered, according to an affidavit by HSI Special Agent Jim Cole, who has been working the investigation.

The male suspect is believed to have interest in the outdoors based on a book Animal Tracking Basics which appears in the background of the video.  Investigators say they believe the pictures were taken in February 2010.

ICE was releasing the pictures of Jane Doe in an effort to locate the child victims and rescue them.

“We are seeking the public’s assistance based on the concern of the minor children.  We are hoping someone comes forward who knows who this person is, or has seen her,” HSI Special Agent Jim Cole said in a telephone interview with ABC News.

Officials said the case is unusual since a majority of child pornography cases involve male suspects, not women.

Investigators ask that anyone with information contact the agency immediately.  One can call the HSI Tip Line at 1-866-347-2423 or complete an online tip form at www.ICE.gov/tips.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Jun032012

Socialite Busted on Child Porn Charges

Medioimages/Photodisc/ThinkStock(DALLAS) -- A wealthy Dallas socialite faces child pornography charges after agents allegedly found graphic videos and photos on her computer.

Authorities raided the University Park mansion of Erika Perdue, 41, in April, ABC News affiliate WFAA in Dallas reported.

Perdue allegedly admitted to FBI agents that she had distributed child pornography since 1999, according to court documents.

A cache of disturbing media, including some that showed adults having sex with toddlers, was found on the Dallas woman’s computer, according to court documents.

The FBI became aware of Perdue’s alleged collection of child pornography in January when they were able to download several images and videos through a file sharing program. Authorities were able to track her identity and address.

Experts say it is extremely rare for a woman to be busted on child pornography charges.

“You very rarely find women who are attracted to this kind of material. I’ve never encountered one yet,” David G. Heffler, a psychologist who counsels sex offenders, told the Buffalo News in 2010.

Perdue’s trial is scheduled to begin on Sept. 10.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Apr242012

Steven Powell Loses Bid to Toss Child Porn Evidence

Josh Powell. (KOMO/ABC News)(WASHINGTON) -- A bid by Steven Powell to have evidence of child pornography and voyeurism dropped was denied Tuesday by a Washington court.

The father of Josh Powell and father-in-law of missing Utah mom Susan Cox Powell appeared in court, sitting just feet away from Susan Powell’s parents, seeking to have the evidence against him ruled inadmissible. He argued that the 2011 search of his home, in which investigators seized dozens of video tapes and CDs containing thousands of images of naked young girls and women, was an illegal search.

Judge Ronald Culpepper, however, disagreed. He ruled that police rightfully obtained a warrant to enter the home Steven and Josh shared in order to take into police custody seven of Susan Cox’s journals, which Steven had shown on national television and said were key to the investigation.

Police took the journals along with Steven Powell’s numerous digital storage devices, where they found the child porn images. Many of the images were taken of Powell’s neighbors, two young girls whom he filmed while they bathed and used the bathroom, according to court documents. There were also images of naked women with Susan’s face transposed onto them.

Following the search and Steven’s arrest, Josh Powell lost custody of his two sons, who had been living with the Powell men since Susan Cox’s disappearance. In February, Josh Powell killed himself and the boys in a fiery explosion just days after he was ordered to undergo a psychosexual evaluation in order to regain custody.

Steven Powell has pleaded not guilty to the voyeurism and child porn charges.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Apr232012

Steven Powell Challenges Child Porn Evidence

Kevin Horan/Stone(SEATTLE) -- The father-in-law of missing Utah mom Susan Cox Powell could be released from jail this week if a Washington judge throws out his charges of voyeurism and child pornography.

Steven Powell, 67, was arrested in 2011 after police found thousands of images of naked young girls and women, including his daughter-in-law, while searching the home he shared with his son, Josh Powell.

The police were searching the home for clues in the case of Susan Powell's 2009 disappearance, in which Josh Powell was the only person of interest. Investigators told the judge who signed the search warrant that they were seeking handwritten journals Susan Powell kept while alive.

During the search, police seized dozens of video tapes, VHS tapes and CDs belonging to Steven Powell, leading to Steven Powell's arrest and the removal of Josh Powell's two sons from his custody because they shared a home with Steven Powell.

Josh Powell later killed himself and the two boys in a fiery explosion after being asked to undergo a "psychosexual" evaluation in order to regain custody of the children.

Monday, standing just a few feet away from Susan Cox Powell's parents, Steven Powell and his attorney Mark Quigley asked Judge Ronald Culpepper to rule that there was no probable cause for authorities to search the Powell home and no legal reason to seize the disks that contained the alleged child porn images. If the judge agrees, Powell could be released from jail this week.

"Their investigation was stale. The police were getting frustrated, and they needed a reason to enter the Powell residence for another search," Quigley said Monday.

The prosecution, however, told Culpepper that the search of the Powell home was done lawfully and was important to the investigation.

Police obtained the search warrant after seeing Steven Powell on national television "bragging" about having seven journals that Susan Cox Powell kept while she was alive, prosecutor Grant Blinn said Monday. Steven Powell said that journals were integral to the investigation, but refused to turn them over to police, Blinn said.

Police were left with only one choice: to search the Powell home to obtain the journals.

"The only reason we're here today at all is because Mr. Powell went on national television bragging that he had the journals and would not hand them over, but were important to investigation and is now fighting the search warrant to get the journals," Blinn said.

Powell has pleaded not guilty to the charges. The investigation, by the Pierce County Sheriff's Department, determined that two of the young girls Powell is said to have covertly taped lived next door, and that his bedroom window faced the side of the victims' residence and the line of sight matches the camera angle seen in the videos.

"In a majority of the images the photographer focuses on the intimate parts of females," the document said.

The judge could rule as early as Tuesday on the legality of the search, and Powell could be released from jail shortly after.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Feb072012

NYC Teacher's Aide Busted for Producing Child Porn

Amos Morgan/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A teacher's aide in a New York City elementary school has been charged with making child porn.  

Taleek Brooks worked at Public School 243 in Brooklyn, where the FBI says he produced images of children engaged in sexually explicit conduct.  It's not immediately clear whether students in his care were among the victims.  

Brooks had been arrested last month for having child porn on his computer, and was arrested again after the FBI discovered new evidence.  Brooks shared with an undercover investigator his directory of images.  

In private online chats the teacher's aide allegedly said he was interested in 10-year-old boys.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Oct142011

Bishop of Kansas City Indicted for Failure to Report Suspected Abuse

Creatas/Thinkstock(KANSAS CITY, Mo.) -- The Roman Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph and his diocese have been indicted on charges of failure to report suspected child abuse when child pornography was found on a computer of a priest of the bishop’s diocese.  The charge makes Bishop Robert Finn, affiliated with the conservative Opus Dei movement, the highest-ranking Catholic official to face criminal prosecution in a child sex abuse case.

The charge relates to child pornography charges against Father Shawn Ratigan, who is accused of taking lewd photographs of underage girls. The diocese failed to report their suspicion that Ratigan may have abused a child after discovering the pornographic images on his computer in December 2010.  It was not reported to the police until May 11, 2011.

The New York Times reports that, “Stoking much of the anger is the fact that only three years ago, Bishop Finn settled lawsuits with 47 plaintiffs in sexual abuse cases for $10 million and agreed to a long list of preventative measures, among them to immediately report anyone suspected of being a pedophile to law enforcement authorities.”

It remains unclear why Bishop Finn did not adhere to his own directive in this case.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Sep272011

Josh Powell Investigated on Child Porn Charges

File photo. Comstock/Thinkstock(SEATTLE) -- The children of missing Utah mom Susan Cox Powell were placed in the custody of her parents Tuesday after a state attorney said that their father, Josh Powell, is being investigated on the same voyeurism and child porn charges that his father was arrested on last week.

The two boys had been living with Josh and his father, Steve Powell, since Susan’s disappearance in 2009. But when a police search of the Powell’s Puyallup, Wash., home allegedly turned up thousands of images of naked women and young girls taken without their knowledge, Steve Powell was arrested and the children were placed in protective custody.

Susan Powell’s parents, Chuck and Judy Cox, filed for custody of the children following Steve Powell’s arrest.

An attorney for Child Protective Services told the court Tuesday that Josh Powell, too, is being investigated on the charges, though he could not divulge any further information, according to ABC affiliate KOMO-TV in Seattle.

Josh Powell told the court he never saw any pornography at the house in Puyallup, and that there was no “clear and present danger” to his children, KOMO reported. He also said that he would be moving out of his father’s home and that the family would not post bail for Steve Powell.

Josh Powell is the only named person of interest in his wife’s disappearance, and the Cox’s attorney told the courtroom Tuesday that his clients believe he is solely responsible for their daughter’s disappearance.

Josh Powell denies any involvement in whatever happened to his wife.

“I did not harm her, I did not have anything to do with her disappearance,” Josh said at Tuesday’s court hearing. “I love my wife. I have looked for her in my own private way.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Sep232011

Susan Powell's Father-in-Law Arrested on Child Porn Charges

Digital Vision/Thinkstock(PUYALLUP, Wash.) -- The father-in-law of missing Utah mother Susan Powell was arrested Thursday night on charges of voyeurism and possession of child pornography, ABC News Seattle affiliate KOMO reports.

Steven Powell, 61, was apprehended at his home in Puyallup, Washington, where officials found videotapes and CDs containing "thousands of images of females being videotaped without their knowledge, including Susan Powell," according to the Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney's Office.  "The photographer focuses on the women's buttocks, breasts, and genital areas.  Many images were of minor females."

The recordings and photographs were seized while investigators searched Steven Powell's home to gather clues on his daughter-in-law's whereabouts.  Thursday's charges -- 14 counts of voyeurism and one count of possession of child pornography -- are not tied to Susan Powell's disappearance.  She has been missing since December 2009.

Pierce County Sheriff's spokesman Ed Troyer described some of the images seized: "We found many pictures of young girls as young as, we believe, 7 years old in explicit positions, pictures that he shouldn't have taken.  Pictures of girls in showers, on toilets, taking a bath."

Troyer said some of the girls featured lived near Steven Powell.

"We have photos from the neighbors' houses of little girls in bathrooms and naked and wholly inappropriate pictures with high-end lenses and we have identified the rooms.  We know who the victims are," he said.

Troyer said investigators are still going through the images and that more victims may have to be identified "unfortunately."

Steven Powell is expected to be arraigned on Friday, KOMO reports.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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