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Auburn man guilty of child porn

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Today, the Federal Bureau of Investigation,http://www.fbi.gov/seattle/press-releases/2014/auburn-man-sentenced-to-seven-years-in-prison-for-distributing-images-of-child-rape announced that a man from Auburn, Washington, near Seattle, was sentenced to seven years in prison for distributing images of children being raped and sexually molested by adults. According to U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan, Hank Hirst, who lived within blocks of an elementary school, had plead guilty in February of 2014 following his arrest in June of 2013. At that time, Hirst’s home was searched and his computer. The computer contained over 2700 images of children being sexually assaulted and molested. Hirst also had 447 video of child pornography. One of the more graphic discoveries was a 170-page manual on Hirst’s computer about pedophilia and how to groom children for sexual abuse. U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour, who sentenced to 7 years and then to 25 years of supervised release. The Judge also ordered HIRST to register as a sex offender following his release from prison. This case was investigated by the Auburn Police Department and by the FBI.

Hirst came to the attention of authorities after he emailed a video of a toddler being raped by a grown man. The email was sent to an Ohio residence. In that investigation, Hirst thought he was trading information with another pedophile when in fact it was an agent of the FBI. According to that agent, Hirst bragged that he had “relations” with children as young as 8 months. Hirst, according to the agent, then laughed and said that the children he abused would end up being “bedwetters” and “cross dressers.” According to the FBI, Hirst, also had in his possession video of neighborhood children. According to the criminal complaint, the manual that Hirst had on his computer, had detailed information on how pedophiles should conduct via surveillance children who looked vulnerable to sexual abuse.

The case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. According to the Department of Justice, Project Safe Childhood’s goals, are to reduce the incidence of sexual exploitation of children. There are five essential components to Project Safe Childhood: (1) building partnerships; (2) coordinating law enforcement; (3) training PSC partners; (4) public awareness; and (5) accountability. The Department of Justice states that “The threat of sexual predators soliciting children for physical sexual contact is well-known and serious, and the danger of perpetrators who produce, distribute, and possess child pornography is equally, if not more, dramatic and disturbing. There is often an international dimension to these crimes such as when offenders travel to victimize children outside of the United States or view live video streams (in addition to recorded still and video images) of children being abused in foreign countries.”

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