States Attorney's Office District of Connecticut
|August 2, 2010||
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE RELEASES FIRST NATIONAL STRATEGY FOR CHILD EXPLOITATION PREVENTION AND INTERDICTION
Following an announcement today by Attorney General Eric Holder, U.S. Attorney David B. Fein announced that the Department of Justice released the National Strategy for Child Exploitation Prevention and Interdiction. The strategy provides the first ever comprehensive threat assessment of the dangers facing children from child pornography, online enticement, child sex tourism, commercial sexual exploitation, and sexual exploitation in Indian Country, and outlines a blueprint to strengthen the fight against these crimes. The strategy builds upon the department’s accomplishments in combating child exploitation by establishing specific, aggressive goals and priorities and increasing cooperation and collaboration at all levels of government and the private sector.
As part of the overall strategy, the U.S. Marshals Service is launching a nationwide operation targeting the top 500 most dangerous, non-compliant sex offenders in the nation. Locally, the U.S. Marshals Service is working with the Connecticut State Police’s Sex Offender Registry Unit and the Hartford Police Department’s Juvenile Investigations Division to target non-compliant sex offenders in Connecticut.
Additionally, the Department of Justice will create a national database to allow federal, state, tribal, local and international law enforcement partners to deconflict their cases with each other, engage in undercover operations from a portal facilitated or hosted by the database, share information and intelligence and conduct analysis on dangerous offenders and future threats and trends. The department also created 38 additional Assistant U.S. Attorney positions to devote to child exploitation cases, and over the coming months will work to fill the vacancies and train the new assistants in this specialized area.
“Although we’ve made meaningful progress in protecting children across the country, and although we’ve brought a record number of offenders to justice in recent years, it is time to renew our commitment to this work. It is time to intensify our efforts,” said Attorney General Holder. “This new Strategy provides the roadmap necessary to do just that – to streamline our education, prevention and prosecution activities; to improve information sharing and collaboration; and to make the most effective use of limited resources. Together, we are sending an important message – that the U.S. government, and our nation’s Department of Justice, has never been more committed to protecting our children and to bringing offenders to justice.”
The District of Connecticut has received one of the new Assistant U.S. Attorney positions, a recognition by the Department of Justice for the work that the Office and several federal, state and local law enforcement agencies in the state have already done to enforce many types of child exploitation crimes, including the manufacture, distribution of child pornography; using the Internet to entice children to engage in sexual activity; sex trafficking of minors; and “sexual tourism” matters (the prosecution of individuals who travel from Connecticut to abuse children in other countries).
In the past month, Edgardo Sensi, a former Connecticut resident, pleaded guilty to child pornography and sexual tourism offenses related to his sexual abuse of minor girls in the United States and Nicaragua. He is scheduled to be sentenced this fall, and the government will be seeking a lengthy prison sentence. Also, a Connecticut family practice physician was recently arrested on a federal charge of using an Internet file-sharing program to receive and distribute hundreds of images of child pornography.
“The U.S. Attorney’s Office, together with our law enforcement partners including the U.S. Marshals Service, Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Connecticut State Police and many local police departments, has long believed that the protection of children is one the most critical responsibilities we have,” stated U.S. Attorney Fein. “Recently, our commitment to seek justice for victims of child exploitation crimes has taken investigators beyond the borders of both Connecticut and the United States, and we will continue to focus our energy on and devote resources to the investigation and prosecution of Connecticut citizens who travel to abuse children in other countries.”
Despite vigorously fighting all aspects of child exploitation, the Department of Justice has recognized that more work remains to be done. To that end, the department’s strategy lays out goals to increase coordination among the nation’s investigators, better train investigators and prosecutors, advance law enforcement’s technological capabilities and enhance research to inform decisions on deterrence, incarceration and monitoring. The strategy also includes a renewed commitment to public awareness and community outreach.
As part of the outreach effort in the District of Connecticut, in the past year, the U.S. Attorney’s Office partnered with the Connecticut State Police, FBI, state prosecutors, local police departments and several educational groups on an Internet Safety/Predator Awareness program called “Student 2 Student.” Through the program and under the guidance of law enforcement coordinators, more than two dozen high school sophomores and juniors developed an Internet safety training programs, which they presented to middle and high school students in assemblies within their geographical areas. Student instructors, joined by members of law enforcement, made presentations to their peers about how to protect themselves online and dispensed Tip Line information and advice about handling difficult Internet-related situations. This past spring, more than 10,000 students at approximately 40 different schools in Connecticut heard the program.
“Children are growing up in a much different world today,” stated U.S. Attorney Fein. “They are able to use technology easily but without the full understanding of the associated dangers and the infinite nature of the Internet. We believe that student-to-student training is very effective, and we will continue to seek creative ways to train and educate children, parents, caregivers, educators and law enforcement in an effort to deter these types of heinous crimes.”
U.S. Attorney Fein also reinforced the District’s continued commitment to advocate for victims of child exploitation crimes. One recent child exploitation case prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Connecticut resulted in the first case in the nation where restitution was provided to a victim of child pornography from an individual who possessed and distributed the victim’s image. In another case, cash and property forfeited by a domestic sex trafficker, who is currently serving a 293-month prison term, is being used to assist his victims with housing, child care, education, counseling and other needs.
“Victims of child exploitation crimes, especially child pornography, never stop being victimized, and this office will continue to seek restitution that can be used by victims to help repair their lives” stated U.S. Attorney Fein. “We will advocate strongly on behalf of victims and will work with the court and victim services organizations to get them the help they need.”
As part of its public outreach efforts, the Department of Justice today re-launched the web site ProjectSafeChildhood.gov. Project Safe Childhood (“PSC”) is a department initiative launched in 2006 that aims to combat the proliferation of technology-facilitated sexual exploitation crimes against children. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, PSC marshals federal, state, tribal and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims.
For more information regarding the National Strategy to Combat Child Exploitation, Prevention and Interdiction, please click here.
U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE
Department of Justice
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