The U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia has announced that the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force in Georgia has placed 81 alleged offenders in custody as part of a two-month, nationwide operation, said U.S. Attorney Charles Peeler.
“Earlier today, almost 1,700 suspected online child sex offenders were arrested during Operation Broken Heart,” said The Department of Justice. The alleged offenders “were arrested during the months of April and May” between 61 ICAC task forces in the United States.
Over the course of the operation, the task force investigated more than 18,500 individual complaints of “technology-facilitated crimes” that targeted children and gave more than 2,150 presnetations on internet safety to over 201,000 youth and adults.
Of the arrests, 308 “are alleged to have either produced child pornography or committed child sexual abuse,” said Peeler. “The task forces were able to identify 357 children who suffered recent, ongoing or historical sexual abuse or were exploited in the production of child pornography.”
“Sexually exploiting children is pure evil, and our Office will continue to bring the full weight of our prosecutorial powers to ensure that offenders are brought to justice,” said Charlie Peeler, the U.S. Attorney. “To the victims of child exploitation: we support you and we will continue to target, arrest and prosecute those who have hurt you. I want to acknowledge the heroic efforts of Georgia’s ICAC Task Force members who are unwavering in their work to capture child sex predators and prevent the further exploitation of children. Thank you for protecting Georgia’s children.”
Georgia’s ICAC Task Force is headquartered in the Child Exploitation and Computer Crimes Unit at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. The task force is made up of over 240 local, state, and federal law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies.
“We will continue to work together to find, investigate and prosecute these predators. While the arrests made during the time frame encompassed by Operation Broken Heart represent phenomenal work, these are the types of investigations being worked every day by task force members across the state,” said Debbie Garner, the GBI Special Agent in Charge of the GBI’s Child Exploitation and Computer Crimes Unit and Commander of the Georgia ICAC Task Force.
Garner also promised to continue searching for offenders who cause “irreparable harm” to children.
To date, ICAC task forces have reviewed more than 922,000 complaints of child exploitation, which have resulted in the arrest of more than 95,500 individuals. In addition, since the ICAC program’s inception, more than 708,500 law enforcement officers, prosecutors and other professionals have been trained on techniques to investigate and prosecute ICAC-related cases, according to the DOJ.