Law Enforcement Officials Warn About Dangers Of Child Exploitation
Members of federal, state and local law enforcement gathered in Columbus Tuesday to warn parents about the growing problem of child pornography. As the result of the growing sexual exploitation of children on the internet, several Central Ohio police departments have joined forces with the FBI, ICE and others agencies. Carter Stewart is U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio. He says 80 percent of perpetrators are known by victimized children. "The production of images of kids, often as young as two years old, one year old, getting raped basically, horrible pictures that are being disseminated across the internet; the images are becoming more violent, the ages of the children are becoming younger," Stewart says. Columbus police chief Walter Distelzweig called the crimes "horrendous." But law enforcement officials say they are making headway in the fight against child pornography. The two-year-old Franklin County Sheriff's Department's Internet Crimes Against Children task force says it's arrested and successfully prosecuted more than 180 defendants in Central Ohio. Still, says Franklin County Chief Deputy Steve Martin, the task is overwhelming. "There are not enough hours in the day for our detectives - our men and women - to be able to combat this. It's epidemic," Martin said. May 25th is National Missing Children's Day. U.S. Attorney Carter Stewart wants parents to help their children stay safer on-line and in their neighborhoods.