Child Pornography: The Predators are Everywhere

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This month in Florida, the spokesman for the Florida Department of Children and Families was arrested on child pornography charges. Two victims have been identified, one of whom the spokesman may have met through his job.

In June 2007, a man who once headed Virginia’s American Civil Liberties Union and was also a youth sports coach pleaded guilty to buying child pornography. He downloaded hundreds of images – some of children as young as four years old.

In 2006, an employee of Northrop Grumman Corporation pleaded guilty to transporting child pornography images from his home in Montgomery, Alabama, to his job site in Saudi Arabia.

If you want a real eye-opener, peruse the press release section of Project Safe Childhood. According to their website, “Project Safe Childhood (PSC) aims to combat the proliferation of technology-facilitated sexual exploitation crimes against children.” Here is a brief list of cases from their website:

A high school teacher and girls’ soccer coach in Texas sentenced for possessing child pornography A former high school teacher at a Baptist church in Oregon sentenced for possession of child pornography Former high school basketball coach sentenced in Oregon for distributing child pornography The chief operating officer of the National Children’s Museum arrested in Virginia for distributing child pornography A Gwinnett County, Georgia, pharmacist indicted for possessing child pornography Guilty plea from a Memphis attorney for possession and receipt of child pornography A Naval Chief Petty Officer pleading guilty to Transportation of Visual Depictions of Minors Engaging in Sexually Explicit Conduct A former guidance counselor at an Oregon elementary school sentenced for receiving and possessing child pornography A Maryland gymnastics teacher working with children from five to 15 years old pleading guilty to receiving child pornography after being caught with a massive collection of child pornography A former Hidalgo County Detention Officer in Texas convicted of receiving child pornography A former professor at the University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School of Business, convicted of producing child pornography for importation into the United States A University of Texas-Pan American professor convicted of receiving child pornography A former Methodist minister in Ohio convicted of receipt and possession of child pornography A fireman in Los Fresnos, Texas, indicted on charges of producing and possessing child pornography A former teacher, scoutmaster and Head Start program employee sentenced for producing and distributing child pornography A Tulsa, Oklahoma, roller skate rink owner pleading guilty to possession and distribution of child pornography A child modeling photographer in Alabama pleading guilty to distribution of child pornography A Laredo, Texas, truck driver sentenced for distribution of child pornography Former Arapahoe County, Colorado, sheriff’s deputy indicted for distributing, possessing and receiving child pornography A Cedar Falls, Iowa, Navy recruiter pleading guilty to attempting to receive child pornography The former president of the St. Louis chapter of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure organization, a woman, pleading guilty to possession of child pornography A United States Postal Service letter carrier in Buffalo, New York, charged with possessing child pornography A former Palestine, Texas, police officer sentenced to prison for possession of child pornography An employee of the Transportation Security Administration sentenced in Virginia for distribution of child pornography A doctor and former researcher at the National Institutes for Health pleading guilty to possession of child pornography

There are many, many more indictments, arrests and convictions listed on this site, and if you take a look at your local Federal Bureau of Investigation’s website and their press release section, you will find even more.

Unfortunately, with the advent of the Internet age comes a greater danger from these predators. Now pornographic images may be bartered, bought and sold with the click of a mouse. And as the list above shows, that might just be by someone you or your child came into contact with today.

To learn how to protect your children from Internet dangers, check out Project Safe Childhood and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Brenda Zurita is the Research Fellow for the Beverly LaHaye Institute.

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