With the spotlight on children Monday during National Child Abuse Prevention Day, a Utah task force has renewed its pledge to protect them online.
The Utah Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC) has arrested 22 people statewide in the past two months alone, according to the Utah Attorney General’s Office, and has made 673 arrests in the past five years.
“Jurisdictional boundaries do not stop the transmission of pornography across the Internet,” said Utah ICAC Prosecutor Paul Amann. “The Utah ICAC Task Force has been able to stop some of the most evil crimes imaginable because state, federal and local law enforcement agencies are working closely together.”
ICAC cases include the 2009 arrest of a 34-year-old Bountiful man after a 9-year-old girl told local police that he had touched her private areas and made a video of the abuse.
The task force found videos and photographs of the abuse on the man’s computer while executing a search warrant. He was sentenced under a plea bargain in early 2011 to prison terms of 25 years to life and 15 years to life for the crimes.
A 61-year-old West Valley City resident was arrested by ICAC agents after he was caught downloading child pornography — something he admitted doing for more than 12 years — and is serving a 2½-year federal prison sentence.
And another West Valley City man was arrested after they discovered he was manufacturing child pornography in his home. While in jail awaiting trial, the man tried to hire someone to kill his victim and her family. He was sentenced in 2009 to 5 years to life in prison for sexual abuse and exploitation of a minor and solicitation to commit murder.ICAC was created in 1998 to address the growing problem of Internet-related crimes against children. There are 61 ICAC forces in the U.S.
The Utah ICAC task force is composed of 26 federal, state and local police agencies, and has a 99.9 percent conviction rate — one of the highest in the nation, according to the Utah Attorney General’s Office.