NEWS archive 2011

CyberTipline® Success - Child Rescued from Long-Term Abuse

November 24, 2011

On August 26, 2011, the CyberTipline received a report from a concerned mother that her 11-year-old daughter was being sexually victimized by one of the child’s relatives. She reported that she became suspicious when she read emails from the suspect to the child, asking her if anything he was doing was making her “uncomfortable” or “angry.” The child’s mother also intercepted pronographic images, of himself and other children, the suspect sent the child. When questioned by her mother, the child disclosed that the abuse started when she was five years old and included the suspect exposing himself to the child and touching her inappropriately.

An analyst with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children's Exploited Children Division (ECD) was immediately on the phone with the mother to gather additional information. The analyst learned that the reported suspect had made threats to individuals he perceived as interfering in their relationship and had purchased a webcam for the child so they could communicate more frequently. After culling additional information about the suspect's criminal history, work, interests, and online profiles through a series of Internet and public database searches, the analyst coordinated the exchange of information between NCMEC and the OJJDP-funded Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Forces out of the South Carolina Office of the Attorney General and the North Carolina Bureau of Investigations. 

Both ICACs immediately launched an investigation, which they coordinated with local law enforcement in each state. One week to the day after they received the CyberTipline report, personnel from the South Carolina ICAC and the Richland County Sheriff's Office had the suspect in custody. Investigators worked hard to gain the child's trust and develop a rapport with her; over time, she began to reach out to them to tell them more of her story. At this point, investigators are still determining the full extent of the abuse. 

The suspect has been charged with 32 Counts of Dissemination of Harmful Materials to a Minor . The digital evidence seized from his home will undergo forensic examination, which may lead to additional charges. 

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