FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE AG
MONDAY, AUGUST 2, 2010 (202) 514-2007
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE RELEASES FIRST NATIONAL STRATEGY FOR CHILD EXPLOITATION PREVENTION AND INTERDICTION
U.S. Marshals Service to Launch Nationwide Operation Targeting Top 500 Most Dangerous, Non-compliant Sex Offenders
RALEIGH – Following an announcement today by Attorney General Eric Holder releasing the Department of Justice’s National Strategy to Combat Child Exploitation Prevention and Interdiction, U.S. Attorney George E.B. Holding announced his enthusiastic support for the venture. The strategy features 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. Additionally, the department 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 Eastern District of North Carolina has been a national leader in combating child sexual exploitation and abuse,” said Mr. Holding. “As prosecutors, we have no higher duty than ensuring the protection of the most vulnerable among us. The rising prevalence of the production, collection and exchange of images of children being sexually abused, and the use of otherwise magnificent technologies to facilitate the sexual abuse of children presents a heightened danger that we cannot ignore. Our office has a proud history of meeting this challenge head-on with the assistance of law enforcement at every level, and we are eager to work with the Attorney General in taking the next steps towards building upon this foundation and making the Eastern District of North Carolina the most hostile environment possible for those who delight in the suffering of children.”
The strategy first analyzed the threat to our nation’s children and described the current efforts at all levels of the government against this threat. Since FY 2006, the Department of Justice has filed 8,464 Project Safe Childhood (PSC) cases against 8,637 defendants. These cases include prosecutions of online enticement of children to engage in sexual activity, interstate transportation of children to engage in sexual activity, production, distribution and possession of child pornography, and other offenses. In the Eastern District of North Carolina, approximately 88 PSC-oriented cases have been filed since August of 2004. This number excludes a large number of prosecutions in which the U.S. Attorney’s office worked with state and local investigators and prosecutors on cases that ultimately resulted in a state prosecution.
These cases have covered nearly every type of child exploitation crime covered under the Federal Criminal Code. Recent notable cases include:
James Mattocks: Mattocks, of Ayden, North Carolina, was sentenced to fifty years’ imprisonment in December of 2009 for using a prepubescent child to produce child pornography, which he subsequently circulated over the internet.
Dennis Stephen Johnston: In December of 2009, Johnston, of Pender County, North Carolina, was sentenced to 60 years’ imprisonment. In early 2010, he was ordered to pay $1.7 million in restitution to two children who he sexually abused for years while creating photos and videos of the abuse.
William Joseph Black: Black, of Lillington, North Carolina, who had twice been convicted of previous child pornography-oriented crimes, was found guilty at trial of receipt and possession of child pornography in June 2010, and awaits sentencing.
Wilbert Robert Schmidt: Schmidt, of Brunswick County, North Carolina, produced a collection of over 6,000 images of children he sexually abused over a period of nearly 30 years. He pled guilty in April 2010 to two counts of producing child pornography, and awaits sentencing.
Dwayne Anthony Frazier: Frazier, of Cary, North Carolina, created a video of himself engaged in sex with a minor, and pled guilty to production of child pornography on July 28, 2010. He, too, awaits sentencing.
Despite vigorously fighting all aspects of child exploitation, the department recognizes 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 its public outreach efforts, the department today re-launched , the Project Safe Childhood (PSC) public website. 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.