It was called “Operation Sunflower.” It was a five-week operation from November 1 to December 7, 2012. It was a project of the ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) law enforcement agency. When it was over, over 240 people were arrested for crimes against children, to include child pornography.
123 children were rescued, to include children outside of the United States. This included five children under the age of three years. 70 of the victims were female. ICE is also seeking past victims who are now adults.
The arrest was a diligent process. Danish police identified Internet postings by a sixteen-year-old boy who outlined his plans to rape a relative, an 11-year-old girl. An online photograph of the girl in a vehicle on a highway revealed a sunflower on a road sign. After days of driving up and down the roads of Kansas, the area was located. It led to the rescue of the girl. Investigations of these types “spider web,” meaning, like a web, one piece leads to another, then another, in all directions. Those who collect child pornography will trade, sell, and share video and photographs the way baseball card collectors swap cards.
These porn collectors are often depicted as the “dirty old man in a trench coat” type, but in reality can be any race, religion, nationality, sex, or age. ICE officials list Bradley Vaine (Fresno, Calif.) arrested for allegedly abusing a 7-year-old girl with mental disabilities, and Samuel Gueydan (Clovis, Calif.) arrested for allegedly having over 1.2 million images and 7,000 videos of child pornography on his computer. In November 2012, Corrine D. Motley (Okaloosa County, Fla.), 25 years old, was arrested and charged with the production and distribution of child pornography. In September 2012, Michael S. Freeman and Michelle L. Freeman of Oregon were arrested.
It is estimated there are 700,000 pedophiles identified in the United States. 100,000 of them have absconded from parole or cannot be located. ICE is calling on the public for assistance in locating four of these perpetrators. For posters of the offenders and information, click HERE. Please take time to review the information; you may know these people.
The average child predator has anywhere between 50-100 victims in their lifetime. Most of the victims are children the perpetrator knows due to their work (teaching, sports, religion, etc.) or the child is a relative or relation (child of a friend or in the neighborhood). Most offenders serve less than 10 years due to plea bargains, parole/probation, and the difficulty in prosecution.
ICE arrested a record 1,655 people for sexually abusing children in 2012. 292 of the victims were identified and rescued.
My book discusses safety for children
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