Feds arrest 2,300 alleged child sex predators in sting operation

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Sunday, June 17, 2018
More than 2,300 alleged child predators caught in sting
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OPERATION BROKEN HEART: Federal officials say more than 2,300 suspected online child sex offenders have been taken into custody during a three-month sting operation.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (KTRK) -- Thousands of suspects accused of producing child pornography or committing child sexual abuse are now off the streets after a federal crackdown on internet sex crimes.

The U.S. Department of Justice said Operation Broken Heart was conducted during the months of March, April and May 2018.

More than 2,300 alleged child predators were arrested after investigators followed up on more than 25,200 complaints of crimes against children.

Task force officials also identified 383 children who suffered recent, ongoing or historical sexual abuse or who were forced into the production of child pornography, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said.

"No child should ever have to endure sexual abuse," Attorney General Jeff Sessions said. "And yet, in recent years, certain forms of modern technology have facilitated the spread of child pornography and created greater incentives for its production. We at the Department of Justice are determined to strike back against these repugnant crimes. It is shocking and very sad that in this one operation, we have arrested more than 2,300 alleged child predators and investigated some 25,200 sexual abuse complaints. Any would-be criminal should be warned: this Department will remain relentless in hunting down those who victimize our children."

Indiana State Police Capt. Chuck Cohen, who helped in the arrest of 40 cases, said the sheer volume of tips and the number of arrests from the operation highlight a disturbing trend in crimes against children.

"Every day, there is more criminal investigations," Cohen told WXIN-TV. "Every day there's more offenders identified."

A major challenge for law enforcement is keeping up with the pace of technology. As criminals change their behaviors online, police are forced to change as well.

Cohen said the painstaking work is worth it after arrests like those seen during Operation Broken Heart.

"If you are victimizing children, you may not have been arrested yet but at some point you will be discovered, you will be arrested, you will be prosecuted and you will be convicted," Cohen said.