CHARLESTON, W.Va. – United States Attorney Mike Stuart, joined by FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge Nick Boshears, Pittsburgh Field Office, FBI Assistant Section Chief Brian Herrick, Violent Crimes Against Children, and West Virginia State Police Sergeant James Kozik, Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, announced the results of multiple investigations regarding child exploitation in the Southern District of West Virginia (SDWV) through the West Virginia Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force. The task force provides resources to identify, investigate and prosecute individuals who exploit our children for sex, child pornography and human trafficking. The task force partners in the Southern District of West Virginia are: West Virginia State Police, Parkersburg Police Department, Raleigh County Sheriff’s Office and Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office.
“Protecting our children from exploitation and violence is a priority for me and my office,” said United States Attorney Mike Stuart. “Although due to the nature of these cases, we don’t often ‘advertise’ our work, you can rest assured we have been aggressively engaged 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to do all we can to protect our children from predators and monsters that prey on our children’s innocence, vulnerabilities, and trust. Child exploitation is an epidemic in America today and West Virginia is not immune from the predators that prey on our children.”
“It’s not enough to just identify the crimes against children anymore, we have to work to prevent exploitation,” said Special Agent in Charge Robert Jones. “Having a dedicated task force with our law enforcement partners to address these issues in West Virginia gives us more resources to identify, investigate and arrest online predators. The FBI will continue to pursue these vicious criminals to protect our children.”
Over the past 6 months, the task force has made 19 arrests, executed 27 search warrants, had 10 indictments including three pending and 9 convictions in specific proactive efforts in the Southern District of West Virginia.
In addition to the multiple investigations involving the task force, the United States Attorney’s Office, SDWV, has prosecuted nearly a dozen additional cases related to child exploitation and internet pornography.