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April 16, 2008
THE NATIONAL CENTER FOR MISSING & EXPLOITED CHILDREN
"Challenges and Solutions for Protecting our Children
April 16, 2008
Mr. Chairman and distinguished members of the Subcommittee, I welcome this opportunity to appear before you to discuss the sexual exploitation of children. Chairman Biden, the measurable progress that has been made in the fight against these crimes is a testament to your decades of service in the Senate. We're grateful for your tireless advocacy and leadership in the area of child protection. The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children ("NCMEC") joins you and your colleagues in your concern for the safety of the most vulnerable members of our society and thanks you for bringing attention to this serious problem facing America's communities.
As you know, the National Center is a not-for-profit corporation, mandated by Congress and working in partnership with the U.S. Department of Justice. NCMEC is a public-private partnership, funded in part by Congress and in part by the private sector. For 24 years NCMEC has operated under Congressional mandate to serve as the national resource center and clearinghouse on missing and exploited children. This statutory mandate includes specific operational functions, including a national 24-hour toll-free hotline; a distribution system for missing-child photos; training of federal, state and local law enforcement; and our programs designed to help stop the sexual exploitation of children.
As recognition of the prevalence of child sexual exploitation has grown over the years, so has the range of services offered by NCMEC to address this problem, many of them in direct response to congressional request. Senator Biden, in 2003 you asked NCMEC to serve as the information hub for performing fitness determinations on applicants for volunteer positions in selected nonprofit, youth-serving organizations. NCMEC created our Background Check Unit. Under this program, applicants to these organizations submit their fingerprints to the FBI, which runs them through their database and sends the criminal histories to NCMEC. Our analysts conduct a criteria-based analysis for each criminal history and send the participating youth-serving organization a color-coded determination: Red, if the criminal history indicates a potential threat to a child; Yellow, if the history indicates the need for caution and additional information; and Green, if the history reveals nothing that might place a child at risk.
To date, this Unit has processed more than 45,000 background checks. While 94% of the applicants met the criteria for a Green determination, 4% received a Yellow determination and 2% received a Red determination. The histories of the applicants who received a Red determination included offenses involving child sexual exploitation and other violent felonies. As a result, 864 individuals were prevented from being in a position to harm a child. But what is most disturbing is the pervasiveness of false information: all the applicants knew that their fingerprints were being run through the FBI's database, yet 26% applied using a different name, 6% applied using a different date of birth, 41% of applicants had a criminal history in a different state, and 53.4% of those found to have criminal histories stated that they did not have a history. And all of these individuals were trying to obtain legitimate access to children through these youth-serving organizations. Nothing could more clearly indicate the severity of the risk facing our children and the flaws in the system.
Another of our programs comes out of Congress' concern about registered sex offenders. There are now more than 600,000 offenders who are required by law to register their address and other information with law enforcement and update this information as it changes. However, the mobility of offenders and inconsistencies among current state registration laws have resulted in an alarming number of sex offenders who are "missing" - law enforcement does not know where they are, yet they are living in our communities. In 2006 Congress passed the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, thanks to the leadership of many members of this Committee, which enhanced and tightened the sex offender registration system. The Act also conveyed 'fugitive' status on non-compliant sex offenders who have left the state and failed to register, and charged the U.S. Marshals Service with tracking them down. The Marshals Service came to NCMEC for assistance in carrying out their new responsibilities. In response, NCMEC created our Sex Offender Tracking Team, which runs searches of non-compliant sex offenders against public-records databases that are donated to us by private companies for the assistance of law enforcement. We also conduct internal searches for potential linkages of non-compliant sex offenders to NCMEC cases of child abduction, online exploitation and attempted abductions. We forward all information to the Marshals, who use it to locate the offenders so they can be charged with the crime of non-compliance. This has resulted in hundreds of arrests of fugitive sex offenders by the Marshals. In addition, NCMEC provides assistance to any requesting law enforcement agency trying to locate non-compliant sex offenders - to date, we have provided almost 600 analytical leads packages to law enforcement upon request, and act as liaison between local law enforcement and the Marshals Service, where necessary. To date, over 100 non-compliant sex offenders have been located.
In response to the concerns of the Senate Banking Committee about the use of credit cards and other payment methods to purchase child pornography online, NCMEC created the Financial Coalition Against Child Pornography. This Coalition is made up of 30 companies, including MasterCard, Visa, American Express, Bank of America, Citigroup, Internet industry leaders and others, and represents 95% of the U.S. payments industry. This initiative recognizes that the sheer number of individuals engaged in this world-wide commercial industry prohibits the prosecution of all of them, no matter how aggressive law enforcement is. So we've come up with a new approach: based on tips to the CyberTipline, NCMEC identifies websites containing illegal images along with method of payment information. We forward this information to agents from the FBI and ICE, who make purchases on a particular site, enabling us to identify the merchant account. If law enforcement does not proceed with prosecution, the financial company is notified and will take appropriate action on the account based on their terms of service. Already we're seeing progress - in less than 2 years, the use of the credit card in these transactions has virtually disappeared. The logos still appear on the sites, but are used either for identity theft or to redirect the purchaser to a different method of payment. And the purchase price for these images of sexually exploited children has risen dramatically - an indication that our efforts may be affecting the profitability of these sites. Despite this, we know that the operators of these commercial child pornography websites are not going out of business - they are simply developing more sophisticated payment methods that are harder for law enforcement to detect. And as they evolve, so will we.
Of course, a key goal is to prevent these images from ever reaching consumers -- the largest percentage of which are here in the U.S. We created a Technology Coalition, made up of industry leaders America Online, Earthlink, Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and United Online. These companies have committed themselves to developing and deploying technology solutions directed at the use of Internet to victimize children. We are building a database of the digital fingerprints embedded in each image that companies can use to search their systems and disrupt their transmission to would-be consumers. Bringing together the collective experience, knowledge and expertise of the members of this Coalition is a significant step toward progress in the fight against child sexual exploitation.
We are also working on another initiative with the Electronic Service Providers ("ESP") and international law enforcement agencies. NCMEC has identified thousands of active websites containing child pornography. We are compiling a list of Uniform Resource Locators ("URL") for these sites, which participating ESPs can use to prevent their customers from accessing. A similar technique being implemented in the United Kingdom, Canada and several European countries has proven to be very effective.
Our longest-running program to prevent the sexual exploitation of children is the CyberTipline, the national clearinghouse for leads and tips regarding crimes against children on the Internet. Mandated by Congress, the CyberTipline is operated in partnership with the Federal Bureau of Investigation ("FBI"), the Department of Homeland Security's Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement ("ICE"), the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Forces ("ICAC"), the U.S. Secret Service, the U.S. Department of Justice's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, as well as other state and local law enforcement. We receive reports regarding seven categories of crimes against children:
? possession, manufacture and distribution of child pornography;
These reports are made by both the public and by Electronic Service Providers, who are required by law to report to the CyberTipline. The leads are reviewed by NCMEC analysts, who examine and evaluate the content, add related information that would be useful to law enforcement, use publicly-available search tools to determine the geographic location of the apparent criminal act, and provide all information to the appropriate law enforcement agency for investigation. These reports are also triaged to ensure that children in imminent danger get first priority.
The FBI, ICE and Postal Inspection Service have "real time" access to the CyberTipline, and all three agencies assign agents and analysts to work at NCMEC. In the 10 years since the CyberTipline began operation, NCMEC has received and processed more than 580,000 reports. To date, electronic service providers have reported to the CyberTipline more than 5 million images of sexually exploited children. An additional 13 million images have been reviewed by the analysts in our Child Victim Identification Program, which assists prosecutors to secure convictions for crimes involving identified child victims and helps law enforcement to locate and rescue child victims who have not yet been identified. Last week alone, we reviewed more than 166,000 images and we expect our workload to increase. In 2007 we saw an increase in reports for nearly all our categories: 23% increase in child pornography reports, 66% increase in online enticement reports, 58% increase in child prostitution reports, 10% increase in child sex tourism, 9% increase in child molestation and 31% increase in misleading domain names.
Our unique role has given us an unparalleled depth of knowledge about how the Internet is used to victimize children and the challenges this presents to law enforcement. In order to clarify the term "the Internet", below is a diagram that shows the various types of platforms contained within it:
The Internet Segmented by Platform
Each of these platforms offers distinct advantages to someone seeking to sexually exploit a child. Some platforms are used for direct communication with a child and some platforms are used to distribute sexually abusive images of children. The 18 million images we have reviewed were detected on a variety of these platforms.
Attached are examples of successful investigations and prosecutions in various states that demonstrate the ways children have been victimized on various parts of the Internet.
Because of the diversity within the Internet, law enforcement uses a variety of techniques in order to detect and investigate the range of crimes against children - from enticement of children on social networking sites to distribution of child pornography via email, websites and peer-to-peer networks. Law enforcement is actively engaged in these investigations every day, using similar tools and techniques on the local, state, and federal level. After ten years of working with officers and agents tasked with child exploitation cases, I am pleased to say that law enforcement at all levels are working more closely than ever before on these important investigations. The level of cooperation is unprecedented and has led to the rescue of thousands of children from abusive situations.
The CyberTipline is a major source of leads for law enforcement and streamlines the process from detection of sexual exploitation to prosecution and conviction. This process increases the efficiency of law enforcement's efforts and maximizes the limited resources available in the fight against child exploitation. However, innovations such as webcams and social networking sites are increasing the vulnerability of our children when they use the Internet. The use of the Internet to victimize children continues to present challenges that require continual adjustment of our tools and methods.
This problem is so vast that we must attack it from multiple angles. While law enforcement is tireless in its efforts, NCMEC contributes to the fight by combining its expertise with its relationships with industry leaders. We are bringing together key business, law enforcement, child advocacy, and governmental leaders to explore ways to more effectively address these new issues and challenges.
I cannot overemphasize the need for increased funding of all the law enforcement programs at the local, state and federal level. Despite the progress made in the fight against child sexual exploitation, it is well-accepted that there are simply more of these potential cases than there are trained law enforcement officers to investigate them.
On January 19, 2007, the CyberTipline received three reports from a major commercial Internet Service Provider (ISP) regarding a subscriber who allegedly sent sexually abusive images of a child via email. In compliance with Federal law, the ISP provided the CyberTipline with incident information, including the images in question. An Exploited Child Unit (ECU) Analyst viewed the uploaded files and found what appeared to be pornographic images of a prepubescent female. Based on information provided by the ISP, the analyst forwarded the report to Maryland Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC), an OJJDP-funded initiative, via the Virtual Private Network (VPN). The report was then sent to the High Tech Crimes Unit of the Delaware State Police for investigation.
Investigators with the HTCU served legal process on the ISP and quickly identified the sender of the emails as a 28-year-old male residing in Georgetown, DE. On February 23, 2007, a search warrant was executed at his home. A preliminary review of his computer revealed numerous images of child pornography, as well as nearly 3,000 online chats between the suspect and other individuals who had been graphically discussing the sexual molestation of children. Investigators combed through the chat logs and set about tracking down the correspondents. To date, their hard work has resulted in the identification and arrest of the following additional suspects:
? A 24-year-old male firefighter/EMT from Harrington, DE who admitted to engaging in sexual activity with a 13-year-old female who had just been released from a drug treatment program. He has been charged with two counts of exploitation of a child, two counts of possession of child pornography, and one count of conspiracy to commit rape in the first degree on a child less than 14 years of age.
The target from the CyberTipline reports has been charged with 19 counts of child sexual exploitation, 16 counts of possession of child pornography and one count of conspiracy to commit rape in the first degree on a child less than 12 years of age. Additional charges are pending the forensic examination of his computer. He is currently in custody.
Investigators with the HTCU continue to vigorously pursue additional targets from the initial case and anticipate more arrests in the near future.
On January 10, 2006, the CyberTipline received a report from a registered Internet Service Provider (ISP) which provided them with incident information, including an allegedly illegal image. The uploaded image appeared to be a screen capture of a web camera transmission depicting the sexual abuse of a prepubescent child.
Text Messages Lead to Arrest, Additional Suspects Being Sought
The CyberTipline received a report on September 20, 2007 concerning suspicious text messages sent between three individuals. The messages discussed the trading of images of "young girls" and appeared to indicate that images of child sexual abuse were exchanged.
Multiple CyberTipline Reports Lead to One Suspect
Between May 2006 and February 2007, the CyberTipline received four reports regarding the same suspect who was allegedly uploading sexually abusive images of children to the Internet. In compliance with Federal law, the Internet Service Providers gave NCMEC specific information about the incidences, including the reported images, the suspect's e-mail address, and an Internet Protocol (IP) address. Also during this time, a concerned citizen notified the CyberTipline of a website that contained an image of a prepubescent female posing suggestively.
Based on the reported information, analysts with NCMEC's Exploited Child Division were able to link the reports to the same individual. Through various Internet searches, they determined that the suspect was accessing the Internet in New York. The analysts also located an online profile that indicated the reported suspect was posing as a 20-year-old female. NCMEC forwarded the reports to the New York State Police's Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, a program funded by the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, for investigation.
The investigation by the New York State Police led to the execution of a search warrant at the suspect's home on November 15, 2006. His computer and other media storage were seized, and were found to contain over 600 sexually explicit images of children. Investigators also seized notebooks filled with stories in which the suspect detailed his sexual attraction to, and interest in molesting several females in his community.
On March 26, 2007, the suspect pled guilty to one count of possession of child pornography. He was sentenced to the maximum penalty of 10 years of imprisonment, followed by 10 years of supervised probation.
On January 2, 2008, the CyberTipline received a report containing chat logs from an instant messenger conversation involving an adult male and a female who stated she was fourteen years old. In the conversation, the reported suspect made multiple sexually explicit comments and repeatedly asked the female for photos of herself. He also revealed that he was a high school teacher and informed her that he liked his "girls young, firm, and cute." The two also discussed the possibility of meeting at a local mall.
Using the provided email address, an Exploited Child Division (ECD) analyst conducted online searches and found various profiles for the suspect. All profiles gave a location of Massachusetts. Based on this information, and the contents of the chat log, the analyst forwarded the report to the Massachusetts Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC), an OJJDP-funded program, out of the Massachusetts State Police.
Not surprisingly, law enforcement personnel were already acquainted with this particular suspect, as he had been the subject of an undercover investigation originating in Portsmouth, New Hampshire in December 2006. Detectives with the Portsmouth Police Department were able to establish his identity and turned that information over to the authorities in Massachusetts. The Massachusetts State Police picked up the case and determined that while communicating with both the undercover officer and the reporting person from the CyberTipline report, the suspect had disseminated material that was harmful to a child, including nude photos of himself.
The suspect was arrested on January 18, 2008 at his home, where investigators seized a laptop computer and a USB thumb drive. It was established that the suspect was, in fact, a history teacher at a Massachusetts high school. During his interrogation, he reportedly made admissions concerning the charges against him. He has been charged with five counts of disseminating obscene material to a minor and two counts of attempting to commit a crime (enticement of a child under 16). He has pleaded not guilty.
US States News
February 21, 2008 Thursday 3:32 AM EST
HUNTLEY MAN ARRESTED ON CHILD PORNOGRAPHY CHARGES
Intelligencer Journal (Lancaster, Pennsylvania)
June 28, 2007 Thursday
Man arrested in child porn case;
US States News
October 9, 2006 Monday 3:34 AM EST
DIVISION OF CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION MAKES ARREST AS RESULT OF CYBERTIP TO NATIONAL CENTER FOR MISSING, EXPLOITED CHILDREN
NATIONAL CENTER FOR MISSING & EXPLOITED CHILDREN
Prior to notifying law enforcement in New York, CVIP first contacted the USSS, ensuring that the child was not part of their current investigation. USSS confirmed that the child was not part of their investigation and agreed to provide copies of the pornographic images to the local law enforcement agency.
Once a possible location was identified, CVIP analysts determined that many of the images were taken between January and May of 2004 using both a Canon and a Seiko Epson camera. Most important, a serial number was listed for the Canon camera which was used to take the pornographic images.
CVIP analysts reviewed the Pack's website, looking for additional pertinent information. On the website they found one image from a parade that appeared to contain the same boy seen in the pornographic images.
On July 15, 2005, CVIP contacted the Nassau County Police Department and provided them with the Image Analysis Report, cropped images of the child victim along with an image of the boy's uniform. Upon receipt of the information Nassau County Detective Bob Shaw contacted the USSS and arranged the exchange of information and images. An investigation into the make and model of the camera yielded no further clues. However, using various investigative methods Detective Shaw determined the identity of the boy seen within the abusive images. As the boy did not reside within his jurisdiction, Detective Shaw forwarded the case to Detective James Held with the New York City Police Department, who is assigned to the Vice Enforcement Division, Sexual Exploitation of Children Squad.
On August 18, 2005, Detective James Held along with the Vice Enforcement Division interviewed the boy, who disclosed that the abusive images had been taken by a man who volunteered with his Boy Scout Troop. The next morning, NYPD arrested the forty-five year old suspect who worked for a security company and who had volunteered with the organization for over 15 years. During the search of the offender's residence authorities uncovered numerous sexual devices, and boys' underwear which the suspect had allegedly labeled with boys' names and dates of the sexual activities. NYPD also recovered a cache of child pornography, which appears to have been downloaded from the Internet, and hundreds of pornographic pictures and videos of the victims.
On August 31, 2005, the suspect was rearrested for the alleged abuse of a second boy, who disclosed being abused for the past 11 months. As this exhaustive investigation continues Detective Held believes that the suspect may have more victims. Police are currently conducting searches in their efforts to identify additional child victims.
The Queens District Attorney's Office has charged the defendant with multiple counts including: sexual conduct against a child, use of a child in a sexual performance, criminal sexual act, promoting a sexual performance by a child, possessing an obscene sexual performance, endangering the welfare of a child and sexual abuse. If found guilty, the defendant could spend a total of 40 years in prison. He is currently being held on bond.
NCMEC wishes to congratulate the many agencies whose hard work and determination resulted in the apprehension of this alleged dangerous predator, removing multiple children from sexual abuse and preventing future victimizations. Specifically, we'd like to recognize the following agencies:
United States Secret Service
South Carolina ICAC Task Force Arrest
On November 8, 2004, agents from the South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) received a complaint from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children's (NCMEC) CyberTipline, stating that the Internet service provider, America Online (AOL), had reported that someone using an AOL email address attempted to send three emails containing three identifiable images of child pornography (or minors engaged in sexual activity) on November 4, 2004. Further investigation revealed that a known sex offender, Thomas Turner, 38 years old, used the AOL screen name and that he resided in Spartanburg County, South Carolina. Turner is a former correctional officer who was already on probation from a prior Criminal Sexual Conduct with a minor (under 13) conviction.
On May 11, 2005, investigators served a search warrant on the suspect's home and confiscated his computer and other printed materials. They found that he was in possession of a large quantity of child pornography. Investigators then attempted to arrest the suspect on May 31, 2005, but found he had left the state. They learned that he had sold his home and fled to Virginia in search of his girlfriend, who had left him when she learned of the allegations against him. The Alabama ICAC then enlisted the help of the Virginia State Police Fugitive Unit, who located the suspect on June 6, 2005 and arrested him without incident. The suspect was extradited back to Alabama shortly thereafter.
The investigation on the suspect revealed that there were two misdemeanor warrants out for his arrest in Olean, New York; one for Driving Under the Influence and the other for exposing himself to three 12 year-old children. The suspect has been charged with Possession of Child Pornography, with possible additional charges of Distribution of Child Pornography forthcoming. He is currently being held in the Madison County Jail in Huntsville, Alabama. If he is convicted of Possession of Child Pornography, a Class C Felony, he faces up to 10 years in prison.
Published: May 07, 2007 12:07 pm
Assistant District Attorney Lesley March contends Jason Burns, 25, admitted to having a conversation in an Internet chat room where he allegedly promised to procure a 5-year-old and a 1-year-old for sex to a New York man.
The price - $5,000.
March said the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children picked up on the possible transaction and alerted New York State Police.
The investigation expanded to include the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation and the Chickasha Police Department.
Following up on information, Chickasha Detective Jason Maddox arrested Burns on Saturday.
March said the OSBI has seized a large amount of data and is sifting through it.
Formal charges are expected Tuesday. Burns is in the Grady County Jail.
The Chickasha, Okla., Express-Star