Torture Victims Need Your Support

June 26, 2013

Today is International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. It was started by the United Nations as a way of bringing the world’s attention to the plight of individuals subject to torture in countries around the world, abused for their political beliefs, religious affiliation, ethnicity, gender – any one of myriad reasons. The Innocent Justice Foundation would also like to use this day to bring attention to the plight of thousands of children right here in the United States whose torture, rape and sexually abuse are being photographed and shared with others via the Internet.

The law enforcement officials in the 61 Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task forces monitor the Internet for such images so they can arrest and prosecute the individuals responsible and save children from further abuse. These investigators report that more and more of the images they see are of young children – infants and toddlers – and that the sexual abuse is more violent and more graphic than ever before.

Innocent Justice asks that you support these youngest victims of torture with a financial gift. Donations to Innocent Justice support the ICACs with the equipment and training they need to find victims and end their abuse.

A Dad Talks to Other Dads

June 24, 2013

Father’s Day has come and gone but the responsibilities of fatherhood stay with a man from the moment his child is born until the day he leaves this earth. So TIJF wanted to share with you the thoughts of a famous father about the importance of talking with your kids about healthy relationships:

When Fathers Say “No More” To Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault
by Michael Bolton

Because fathers have a special role in their children’s lives, they also have a remarkable opportunity to share lessons that can influence and impact their sons and daughters in significant and enduring ways. But how many of us have actually taken time to sit with our sons and daughters to discuss a subject of tremendous consequence – how to have healthy relationships.

Proudly, I join fathers around the country today in urging dads to have serious and substantive conversations with their sons and daughters, not only about the perils of drugs and alcohol or the importance of education, but about what it means to have healthy relationships.

We see too often, on the evening news and in crime statistics, the horrific results of the mistreatment of women and children. Every 15 seconds, a woman is abused by her partner. Nearly three out of every four Americans knows someone personally who is or has been a victim of domestic violence. Sex trafficking – especially of young children – is increasing at alarming rates across our country. And while we stand tall and proud with those men and women who have served and continue to serve in our military we have seen even those institutions shaken by the scourge of sexual assault – 26,000 members of the Armed Forces sexually assaulted in just one year.

For two decades, The Michael Bolton Charities has been dedicated to responding to the needs of children and women at risk. It has been encouraging and inspiring to be joined in this effort by people who believe, as I do, that we must end the cycle of domestic violence and the lasting damage it inflicts on our families and our communities. Providing effective responses that offer real, life-changing opportunities is at the heart of our work, and our commitment has not wavered.

It has been estimated that as many as 10 million children witness assaults by one parent against another each year. We recognize that domestic violence places children, as well as women, in harm’s way. Our determined efforts continue across the country, most notably in Connecticut and Nevada, where visionary leaders and everyday citizens are coming together to advance effective strategies, legislation, and solutions that work, and that matter.

For all of these reasons, I support a new initiative called NO MORE. It aims to get men talking about these serious issues. New data from a NO MORE survey, sponsored by the Avon Foundation for Women, shows that on this subject fathers have been virtually silent. Three out of four men nationwide say they have not talked about domestic violence or sexual assault with their children. And so, as fathers, we can wait no more. We must all begin the conversation, close to home, with each of our children. As fathers we must continue the conversation with leaders in business and our government. And, as fathers, we must fully engage with our educational system so boys can be taught in the developmental stages that you can never be a real man and be violent with a woman.

As fathers, we must fight to keep VAWA (Violence Against Women Act) fully funded and declare war on human trafficking in our country and everywhere it exists. We need to evolve in our perception and treatment of young women everywhere. It is important to say, free of ambiguity or hesitation, that violence and abuse, power and control, are never acceptable. That’s precisely where dads come in. I am firmly convinced that we can cause a chain reaction of hope if our children hear directly from us precisely why healthy relationships must be a priority. Every day. Every night. In every way.

Such a conversation may be difficult to start. There are resources to help, and they are included at www.michaelboltoncharities.com and www.nomore.org. Your involvement has never been more meaningful, or more necessary.

As the son of marvelous parents, the father of three daughters, and the grandfather to two magnificent granddaughters, I am very fortunate. Yet, the magnitude of this issue surrounds me every day.

This Father’s Day can be remembered as the day when we fathers turned a collective corner, reducing domestic violence and sexual abuse to an aberration, not an everyday occurrence. Together, we can articulate NO MORE through conversations started, voices raised and actions taken. By doing so, this will truly be a Father’s Day worthy of every father and every child because the greatest gift we can offer our children on their fathers’ day is the ability to have and sustain healthy, mature relationships, built on respect and trust. ________________________________
Multiple Grammy Award winning songwriter and recording artist Michael Bolton is Chairman of The Michael Bolton Charities, Inc., which recently marked two decades of providing support to children and women at risk.

Wisconsin ICAC Adds Member

June 17, 2013

The Innocent Justice Foundation welcomes the Price County Sheriff’s Department to the Wisconsin Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force.

The Wisconsin ICAC was established in 2007 with just 20 law enforcement agency members. The addition of Price County Sheriff’s brings to just under 200 the number of local law enforcement agencies that are members of Wisconsin’s ICAC.

Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said the state’s ICAC arrested more than 130 suspects last year.

ICACs are networks of local law enforcement agencies working to identify and prosecute individuals who produce, share and download images of child sexual abuse on the Internet. Innocent Justice supports the work of the ICACs with training and by helping to locate equipment and other resources needed in the fight against the sexual abuse of children.

Sexting Can Be Child Pornography

June 11, 2013

Sexting, the practice of many young people to take nude or nearly-nude photos of themselves and share the photos via cell phones, can result in legal and social issues teens may want to avoid.

In Decatur, Georgia this week, five teens age 13 to 16 face felony child pornography charges for sexting.

The Macon County State’s Attorney’s Office says it is a felony in Georgia for people under the age of 18 to take, send or have nude photographs of other people under 18, even though the young people may all have consented to taking and sharing the photos. Extreme cases can net juveniles jail time and require that they register as a sexual predator, even if they are taking the pictures of themselves.

Since 2009, 20 states have enacted legislation to address the issue of sexting, many of them reducing it from a felony to a misdemeanor. Laws and punishments vary widely by state, however, so parents of young people are encouraged to review the laws in their state and discuss sexting with their children.
ne 11, 2013

KY Cybercrimes Unit Marks 5th Anniversary

June 7, 2013

June 7 — Congratulations to the Kentucky Attorney General’s Cybercrimes Unit for five years of protecting children against sexual abuse. The unit is a member of the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Tas Force.

Since June 2008, the Cybercrimes Unit headed by Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway has initiated 341 investigations of images and videos of children being sexually abused, recovered 403,000 images and videos and has had a 100% conviction rate. Among those charged were a Kentucky high school teacher, a foster parent and a man using Skype to produce and distribute sexually explicit videos of children.

Thank you, Mr. Conway and all members of your Cybercrimes Unit, for protecting children in Kentucky against sexual abuse!

It’s Innocent Children Victims of Aggression Day

June 4, 2013

June 4, 2013 — The purpose of the day is to acknowledge the pain suffered by children throughout the world who are the victims of physical, mental and emotional abuse. This day affirms the UN’s commitment to protect the rights of children.

At Innocent Justice, we believe that children should be protected from the physical, mental and emotional abuse that result when they are sexually abused and their abuse is recorded and distributed globally on the Internet. Research shows that knowing a permanent record of their abuse is available causes life-long trauma for that child; victims report feeling humiliated and abused again each time their photo or video is seen by someone new.

It is estimated that the abuse of more than 1 million children in the U.S. alone has been recorded by child pornographers. Innocent Justice is working to end this kind of abuse and we invite you to work with us!

It’s National Police Week

May 23, 2013

During National Police Week, Innocent Justice thanks all the investigators who track images of children being sexually abused and tortured in order to catch those who prey on our most precious assets — our children. The Innocent Justice Foundation is proud to support police in their work. You can help with a donation!

Looking Does Link to Acting

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

Suspect arrested, child rescued

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.

A Few Predators in San Diego

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.