May 20, 2013
I’m looking at the braided bracelet on my right wrist and thinking about the woman and 10-year old girl the bracelet honors.
Lori Bresnahan was picking up the girl from a gymnastics class the evening of March 14 near Syracuse, New York when police say the two were kidnapped by David Renz. Renz is charged with raping the child and stabbing Bresnahan to death.
At the time he was arrested, David Renz was already facing criminal charges. On January 9th, the FBI had charged him with receiving and possessing child pornography that he had downloaded from a homemade computer. Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick said some of the pornography confiscated from Renz mirrored the attack on Bresnahan and the child.
When I first heard the news reports about Renz, I wondered if his scenario was typical of those who view child pornography or if most offenders simply look and don’t take any action. What I have learned through Innocent Justice is that those who “just look” are in the minority. In fact, a U.S. Commission on Sentencing report released in February 2013 stated that one in three federal child pornography offenders had a known history of committing a physical act of sexual abuse against a child. A study by the National Center for Mission and Exploited Children showed in 2005 that 40% of those arrested for possessing child pornography also admitted to having sexually victimized a child. And in a 2006 study of child pornography offenders in a North Carolina prison, 85% admitted to having child sexual abuse victims.
Now when I look at the bracelet on my wrist, I will remember not only Lori Bresnahan and the little girl raped by an individual who looked at “dirty” pictures of kids, I will think about all the children who have been physically abused by child sexual abuse and torture image viewers, and those who were molested when the photos were taken and who continue to be abused whenever their photo is accessed, downloaded or shared.
posted by Rochelle Cassella
May 16, 2013
The nationwide manhunt for a “John Doe” suspected child pornographer ended a little more than 24 hours after U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) issued a public appeal for information about his identity and whereabouts. John Doe was arrested Wednesday afternoon after a tip from the public was called in to the ICE tip line.
The criminal complaint and arrest warrant for John Doe was signed Friday in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. At that time, HSI had no information about the identity of John Doe, but he was believed to be located somewhere in the United States. The victim he recorded being sexually abused is believed to be 7 to 9 years old.
According to the criminal complaint filed by HSI, four videos of child pornography with date stamps of April 14 and 27 were first discovered by the Danish National Police on May 3. They referred the case to U.S. law enforcement for further investigation.
January 4, 2013
This morning I woke up to a certain news program on my radio, and was happy to hear coverage of great work of Homeland Security in conjunction with ICAC task forces on Operation Sunflower. Over 245 suspects in over 20 states have been arrested on charges of child pornography possession, distribution and production. (Go Homeland Security!)
The voice floating out of the radio expressed shock and surprise that a few of the suspects were even in San Diego! Yes, it’s true, several of those 245 arrests occurred in San Diego, where a pilot and teacher were arrested, among others. We appreciate the work of all the federal, local and state agencies who work together in ICAC units to take these predators off the streets.
But for all the herculean efforts our ICAC unit, local, state and federal agencies make, the few arrested were just the tip of the iceberg. Since there are over 624,000 traders of child sexual abuse and torture images in the US, and we divide those 624,000 by the 61 ICAC task forces, statistically, an ICAC task force is confronted by over 10,000 offenders in its area. Because of the population density in San Diego, the number of predators may even be higher here.
Since child sex predators invade every demographic, sociographic, economic, and racial strata in society, there is no place in the world which is not infested by their presence.
So let’s support our ICAC task forces in getting those few….hundred thousand… of them.
August 1, 2012
Finally, today, a major national news outlet covered the topic of child sexual abuse and torture images (what others call child pornography). After seven years of working in this field, and trying to get someone, anyone, at the national level to cover this life-saving topic, finally someone did. For fifteen minutes, as I drove in my car, I heard Robin Young of NPR’s Here and Now and Jenifer McKim of the Boston Globe talk about Jenifer’s article about federal agents pursuing child pornography offenders. Fairly, accurately, but cautiously, Robin and Jenifer broke the silence that many national reporters have maintained for years in their refusal to cover this issue which affects every child, every family, and every community in America.
Thank you, Jenifer, for your very well-written article in the Boston Globe. Thank you, Robin, for taking it national.
Heather Steele, CEO
The Innocent Justice Foundation
July 22, 2012
Let us all congratulate the survivors of Jerry Sandusky’s abuse, the law enforcement who investigated the case, and the prosecutors who took Sandusky down. Let us savor the sweet victory of actually taking a predator off the street, and respect the fair treatment of Penn State by the NCAA for allowing the abuse to continue for as long as they did.
But let us also take a moment to think of all the universities, schools, religious and secular organizations, and families where turning away from blatant and horrific abuse is “business as usual.” There are doubtless thousands of American institutions and families who let pedophiles have free reign in the name of “protecting reputations.”
Let us all, no matter what our socio-economic status, geographic location, religious or secular affiliations, or family ties, commit to believing victims, reporting abuse, contacting police, allowing thorough investigations to take place and supporting the prosecution of perpetrators.
We here at Innocent Justice commit to a world where every child has the right to grow up without abuse. Won’t you join us?
June 6, 2011
We wanted to share this moving poem written by ICAC Detective Shawn Cronce, which she shared with us following her attendance at our SHIFT Training at the 2011 National Strategy Conference on Combating Child Exploitation in San Jose, CA.
Thanks Detective Cronce!
I watch your abuse
I watch everyday
I watch as you scream
Or try to wiggle away
I watch as you cry
I watch as you pray
For God to come save you, to take you away
I watch when most can’t
I watch in disgust
My heart breaking more, with every touch
Your innocence stripped from you, outright stolen
Your little red eyes all puffy and swollen
You have been violated in the worst of ways
I watch, I watch, I watch for days
I watch for clues for things he has missed
I watch, I watch, I’m getting pissed
Your little body all tattered and broken
I watch as he makes you his own little token
I watch and I see your tear hit the pillow
And realize mine are sure quick to follow
I watch and I pray
For the strength to keep watching, watching everyday
I watch to catch him, to put him away
Lord please help me fight off this depression
God only knows how I want to teach him a lesson
I watch so forgive me as I take no joy
In the sexual abuse that you must endure
I watch his face when I come through that door
When he knows he can’t hurt you, not anymore
Now I watch as you heal and you learn how to grow
Without the abuse that you’ve come to know
I watch as you look me straight in the eye
Without saying a word I know what you’re thinking
You’re thankful I watched everyday without blinking…
© Detective Cronce
April 18, 2011
With the advent of the Internet, child sexual abuse and exploitation cases have exploded. Today, hundreds of thousands of pedophiles can easily find one another through cyberspace, encourage each other to commit crimes, teach one another how to do so, and share strategies on how to effectively evade law enforcement and justice.
Unfortunately, due to lack of resources, law enforcement can only investigate less than 1% of these individuals, leaving millions of innocent children vulnerable.
If you care about the safety of our children, please take a moment now to sign and share our petition!
March 25, 2011
On 3/16/11, the California state legislature voted to move Assembly Bill 109 forward, which includes a public safety ”realignment” proposal intended to shift the burden of incarceration and parole supervision from the state to local counties, all in an effort to balance the budget.
While the Brown administration claims this plan will not jeopardize public safety and would actually increase “local control,” it is in truth a scheme to release prisoners early, keep repeating offenders in our communities and pass the state’s budget woes on to our counties. And as this 3,000 page proposal was only made available last Thursday, there simply will not be enough time for law enforcement, lawmakers and the general public to study and comment on the legislation before a vote in the Senate and Assembly.
One of the elements of the proposal includes shifting approximately 38,000 offenders in the first year (16,000 from prison and 22,000 from parole) onto local public safety officials and local courts. By 2014, This number would grow to 68,000 (40,000 from prison and 28,000 from parole).
Unfortunately, the governor’s proposal makes no mention of additional resources being made available to law enforcement to handle the vast amount of these unrehabilitated offenders into our neighborhoods. Local sheriffs are already burdened with their own jail and inmate housing challenges.
The governor’s proposal also includes a resurrection of a failed policy idea repealed last year due to public outrage, which involves shortening the sentences of many felons and leaving many more parolees without supervision. In addition, it is expected that approximately 40,000 felons would gain the right to vote because convicted felons not housed in state prison, according to current election code, have the right to vote. This proposal says nothing about ammending the election code.
Another troublesome aspect of the bill is that it will impose a maximum disposition of 14 days in county jail for a Parole Unit sanction or 30 days in county jail imposed by a court sanction. Currently, child sexual abuse offenders receive a parole violation of 10-12 months for having contact with children.
Proponents of the bill state that the lower risk parolees do not require supervision, however the determining factor for “low-risk” raises concern as it is based on their current prison offense, not their history. So repeat offenders of violent crimes, who are currently serving on a petty theft charge, would be considered low-risk under this proposal. Domestic violence offenses are not considered serious or violent felonies.
The governor’s proposal puts all of us at risk by placing an overwhelming burden on local courts and law enforcement agencies who simply will not have the resources to supervise, manage or rehabilitate this huge influx of criminals.
California is not alone in having to make some difficult choices to resolve budget issues, however those choices should not jeopardize our public safety and our inherent right to live free of fear of becoming victims of these unsupervised criminals.
This proposal must be rejected if we are to keep our families and communities safe.
We urge everyone to call, write and email their state senators and assembly members and demand that they vote “no” on AB109 or any other parole realignment proposal. State representatives can be found at:
Senators: http://1.usa.gov/hatDXR | Assembly Members: http://1.usa.gov/eFDSoy
Please pass this critical message along via the social media and email links below. Thank you!
February 7, 2011
Thank you to all of our Innocent Justice social media friends! We’ve just passed (or nearing) a few milestones:
- 206 Facebook Fans
- 6 shy of 500 Twitter Followers
- 102 members of our LinkedIn Group!
Beginning to build our following is just the first step.
We hope you can join in and create more discussions for us on any of these media you may use. Raising awareness of the increasing prolifieration and true nature of child sexual abuse and torture images is central to our mission. With increased awareness we believe we begin to affect real change. Positive legislative change is beginning to happen in some parts of the country. Let’s keep the momentum spreading!
We welcome all of your continued support in helping to use your social media networks to keep the conversations going!
Connect with us:
December 15, 2010
A Note from our Friends at PROTECT.org:
In the next few days, the Senate is planning to vote on an “omnibus spending bill.” Contained in that bill is $60 million in desperately-needed child rescue funding that PROTECT fought for all during 2010.
If the omnibus fails, state and local law enforcement resources for fighting child exploitation will be slashed in half. Thousands of children will be left in the hands of sexual predators, simply because the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Forces didn’t have the people to go rescue them… even though they know where they are.
That’s why we need you to call these Senators, who we believe might help us:
Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) 202-224-6551
Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) 202-224-2523
Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) 202-224-4543
Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) 202-224-5344
Here’s what to say:
- I’m calling to urge you to vote for the omnibus spending bill.
- I understand you are leaning towards a YES vote. Here’s why that’s important…
- The omnibus contains $60 million in funding for the ICAC task forces [pronounced eye-kack]. This money will give police the resources they need to stop child pornography traffickers and rescue children.
- And here’s why child protection matters to ME…
(Speaking to the staffer who answers the phone is okay. They log your call, and the office will feel the combined impact of all our calls! If you don’t get through the first time, please try again.)
Please forward this message to friends and neighbors today! Thank You!
NOTE: The omnibus spending bill is not the same legislation as the tax bill recently in the news. The omnibus will fund all government operations in 2011, and it’s the result of a year of work by both Democrats and Republicans. There are no other options on the table that include this $60 million. We win or lose right now. If you believe, as we do, that pro-child, anti-crime voters must focus on the single issue of child protection, please call these Senators today!