Deputy Attorney General Announces $50 Million in Recovery Act Awards To Protect Children
On May 21, 2009 the U.S. Department of Justice's (DOJ’s) Office of Justice Programs issued the following press release:
Washington – Deputy Attorney General David W. Ogden announced today that the Department of Justice is awarding $50 million in Recovery Act funds to support activities of the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) program. The Deputy Attorney General made the announcement in his remarks at the Department's annual National Missing Children's Day ceremony.
Of the $50 million in Recovery Act funds, the Department will award $41.5 million in formula grants to the ICAC Task Forces throughout the United States. In addition to these grants, the Department will award $8.5 million for training and technical assistance, research, and communication and data infrastructure. To learn more about Recovery Act grants and the status of awards, visit http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/recovery.
"The Internet Crimes Against Children Task Forces are aggressively pursuing all avenues to protect children against sexual victimization," said Deputy Attorney General Ogden. "The Department of Justice will continue to actively pursue all predators who target our most vulnerable, which is why I'm so pleased to announce these dedicated funds from the Recovery Act to advance these crucial efforts of our ICAC Task Forces."
The national network of 59 ICAC Task Forces represents more than 2,000 federal, state and local law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies engaged in developing an effective response to sexual predators who target children via the Internet and other electronic devices. During the past two years, the ICAC Task Forces have successfully conducted more than 24,371 forensic examinations, identified nearly 1,439 abused or neglected children and arrested 5,450 individuals.
During the Missing Children's Day ceremony, the Deputy Attorney General acknowledged the dedication of law enforcement and concerned citizens for their courageous efforts to recover missing or abducted children and combat child exploitation. In addition to the Deputy Attorney General, the ceremony included remarks by Laurie O. Robinson, Acting Assistant Attorney General, OJP and the recipients of the following awards were recognized:
Attorney General's Special Commendation Award: Recognizes the extraordinary efforts of an Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, an ICAC affiliate agency or an individual assigned to an ICAC Task Force or affiliate agency for making a significant investigative or program contribution to the ICAC Task Force.
Five individuals jointly received the Attorney General's Special Commendation Award for their successful prosecution of a 35-year-old Florida swim coach who downloaded and distributed child pornography and had sexual contact with at least five of the boys he coached.
- Detective Jennifer Montgomery, Broward County Sheriff's Office, reviewed the Cybertip information and images and determined that they were pornographic depictions of male children. She then interviewed, along with an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent, the suspect and investigated the images on the suspect's computer.
- Special Agent Mike Bentolila, ICE, interviewed the suspect and found more than 45 pornographic images of child pornography on his computer.
- Special Agents Alexis Carpinteri and Michael D. Leverock, FBI, reviewed the information and obtained forensic findings of pornographic images of children and then arranged for a second interview of the suspect, which led to a polygraph exam. The accused admitted during the polygraph to downloading, possessing and sharing hundreds of child pornography images and movies for years.
- Assistant U.S. Attorney Brent Tantillo, filed a complaint in federal court where the accused pleaded guilty to transporting child pornography in March 2009.
Missing Children's Day Law Enforcement Award: Recognizes the extraordinary efforts of a law enforcement officer who has made a significant investigative or program contribution to the safety of a child.
- Special Agent Greg Ryman, a former computer engineer for the FBI, Washington, DC, Field Office's Innocence Lost Task Force, developed the ChildFinder program, an automated system that analyzes erotic service advertisements posted on Craigslist, a social networking site. This system led to the guilty pleas of an offender who trafficked a 15-year-old girl and other victims for prostitution.
Missing Children's Day Citizen Award: Honors the extraordinary efforts of private citizens for their unselfish acts to safely recover missing or abducted children.
- Julie Mosbacher, a registered nurse in Cody, WY, who became suspicious of the behavior of a male patient who sought emergency room services while in the company of a small child. Mosbacher contacted police, who arrested the patient and the child was safely recovered.
Missing Children's Day Child Protection Award: Honors the extraordinary efforts of a law enforcement officer who has made a significant investigative or program contribution to protecting children from abuse or victimization.
- Detective Neil Spector, St. Lucie County, FL, Sheriff's Office, headed an undercover online investigation that initially started with a Massachusetts resident who expressed interest in sexually abusing children. Acting undercover, Spector obtained details about another offender in New Hampshire who shared videos of himself engaging in sex acts with children and who allowed the Massachusetts man to sexually abuse his 4-year-old daughter. The investigation resulted in the Massachusetts resident pleading guilty and being sentenced to 20 years in federal prison, followed by life-time probation. The New Hampshire resident pleaded guilty on federal charges and was sentenced to 40 years in federal prison, followed by life-time probation.
Missing Children's Day Poster Contest
- Dakhota-Rae Brown of Cheyenne, WY, a fifth grader from Henderson Elementary, was selected as the 10th Annual National Missing Children's Day Poster Contest winner for her depiction of a ribbon with the names of missing children. The heart in the center of the ribbon represents the heart of parents and loved ones waiting for those children to come home.
Twenty-six years ago, President Ronald W. Reagan proclaimed May 25 as National Missing Children's Day in memory of Etan Patz, a 6-year-old boy who disappeared from a New York City street corner on that day in 1979. Missing Children's Day honors his memory and the memory of children who are still missing, celebrates the stories of recovery and pays tribute to the exemplary efforts of agencies, organizations and individuals engaged in protecting children.
The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention is a component of the Office of Justice Programs in the U.S. Department of Justice.
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