INDIANAPOLIS – Joseph H. Hogsett, the United States Attorney, announced today that David Simpkins, age 25, of Indianapolis, has been charged with producing child pornography involving two young victims. Hogsett said the filing of formal charges comes as his office has launched Operation Community Watch, a new effort which aims to reduce the abuse of Hoosier children through innovative investigative techniques and aggressive prosecution.
“This case represents the kind of collaborative, cross-country investigation that Operation Community Watch is designed to foster,” Hogsett said. “What began as a tip to law enforcement in Boston ended over the weekend with the arrest of this defendant, and the end of his alleged abusive acts against these young victims.”
According to charging documents released today, agents with Homeland Security Investigation in Boston recently discovered a series of images depicting child pornography. Working with Indianapolis-based Homeland Security Investigation special agents, as well as a Carmel police detective assigned to the Hamilton County Metropolitan Crimes Against Children Task Force, those images were traced to Indianapolis. Evidence was allegedly discovered that indicated the images at some point had been distributed by defendant Simpkins.
Subsequent investigation allegedly revealed that two local victims are depicted in these images. The victims are very young children, both under the age of three, and the images indicate the abusive acts took place at a home in Indianapolis where the defendant had on occasion acted as a babysitter for the victims. On August 17, 2013, representatives from the local Homeland Security Investigation Task Force located Simpkins in Muncie, at which time he was arrested and federally charged.
According to Senior Litigation Counsel Steven D. DeBrota, who is prosecuting the case for the government, Simpkins faces decades in prison if he is convicted. In addition, Simpkins also could be sentenced to years of supervised release at the end of his prison term, as well as lifetime registration as a sexual offender.
This arrest comes as Hogsett has announced a comprehensive crackdown on child exploitation in Indiana. Just last year, he launched “Operation Community Watch,” which will allow prosecutors and investigators to use cutting-edge techniques to identify and charge people in Hoosier communities who are engaged in the receipt and trafficking of child pornography materials. In this case, these efforts were facilitated by the Indiana Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a larger nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Hogsett pointed out that in the last Project Safe Childhood reporting year, the Office prosecuted 52 defendants, an increase of 37% over the prior year, and 49 defendants were convicted and sentenced. These are all-time records for the Office.
The greatest measure of the PSC program’s impact, however, is the identification and rescue of child victims of sexual exploitation and abuse. Over the last year, the U.S. Attorney’s Office successfully identified more than 120 child victims, including minors in Indiana, numerous places in the United States, Canada, Switzerland, and other countries around the world.
Led nationally by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state 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 about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
Informations, indictments, and criminal complaints are only a charge and are not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.