For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Bob Cooper
(208) 334-4112

Date: January 12, 2009

Idaho Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Reports Successful First Year, Welcomes Canyon County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office

(Boise) – The Idaho Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (Idaho ICAC) made 19 arrests and referred 57 cases to prosecutors during its just-completed first year of operations, Attorney General Lawrence Wasden said today.

The Idaho ICAC is a statewide coalition of local, state and federal law enforcement and prosecution agencies, focused on apprehending and prosecuting individuals who use the Internet to criminally exploit children. Internet crimes against children are, primarily, crimes of sexual exploitation of children. These crimes include distribution of child pornography and using the Internet to target children for sexual abuse.

At a news conference in Caldwell, Wasden welcomed Canyon County Prosecuting Attorney John Bujak’s office as the 44th local Idaho ICAC member.

“From a statewide perspective, adding the strengths and experience of the prosecuting attorney’s office in Idaho’s second largest county will make our Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force an even more powerful agent for protecting Idaho’s kids,” Attorney General Wasden said. “From Canyon County’s perspective, the prosecutor’s office gains access, at no cost to the county, to state-of-the-art training in the prosecution of Internet crimes. This training will help the prosecutor’s office prepare and present strong cases that lead to convictions and tough sentences and, as a result, prevent these criminals from harming more kids.”

During the first year of operations, the Idaho ICAC:

  • trained 49 law enforcement officers and 4 prosecutors to national ICAC standards;
  • received and followed up on nearly 50 Cyber tips involving travelers (people trying to arrange in-person meetings for sexual activity with minors), child enticement, obscenity directed toward minors and child prostitution; and
  • received and followed up on more than 150 reports of individuals in possession of child pornography. In five instances, this follow-up led to individuals who admitted they had had physical contact with children.

Citing national research, Wasden noted that a large percentage of individuals convicted of possessing child pornography have admitted physical contact with children and claim an average of more than 30 victims.

“Does that hold true in Idaho?” Wasden asked. “We can’t say with certainty, but consider this: In a one month period this fall, the ICAC investigators in my office identified 984 computers in Idaho that contained child pornography. If only 10% of those individuals, not the vast majority as in the federal study, had physical contacts with 30 victims, we would have 2,952 victims in Idaho. To be very conservative, if the same 10% had only 3 victims each, that’s still 295 Idaho victims, an obviously unacceptable number.”

Wasden encouraged people with information about possible Internet crimes against children to report their concerns through the National Cybertipline. Anyone can send a cyber tip, either through the website www.cybertipline.com or the toll–free telephone number, (800) 453–5768.

More information about the Idaho Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force is available on the Internet at www.icacidaho.org.

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