Attorney General's Cyber Crimes Unit busts 10 alleged child pred - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Attorney General's Cyber Crimes Unit busts 10 alleged child predators

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Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) -- The Kentucky Attorney General's small Cyber Crimes Unit is having an increasingly large impact in the fight against child porn.

“It’s estimated that, at one time, there are over 500,000 predators online looking for their next child victim,” said Attorney General Andy Beshear.

But Beshear says there are now ten fewer as he announced the latest arrests Monday.

His new Operation Shielded Child effort busted ten alleged online child predators operating in nine counties, including Hardin, Shelby and Franklin. The worst offenders face up to 20 years in prison.

“There is nowhere to hide. We are out there looking for you. We will find you. We will arrest you, and you will go to jail,” Beshear said.

Tom Bell is an investigator in the cybercrimes unit. He and three others scour chat rooms and other dark corners of the internet.

“We're going to places where these people are advertising that they’re looking for children, or insinuating that they’re looking for children,” Bell told WDRB News.

And it's disturbingly easy. In the few minutes WDRB watched, Bell, posing as a 14-year-old girl, connected with a 24-year-old man.

“If this guy’s talking to me, how many other children is he talking to, in what other locations, and how far has he taken it? And that’s the problem. We just don’t know,” Bell said.

The unit had been averaging 15 arrests a year, but this year has already exceeded that.

There have been six in Jefferson County alone.

“We have never had better technology than we do right now to find these people who are downloading and sharing the worst of the worst hardcore child pornography, or the tools to find those that are online trying to entice minors to meet them,” Beshear said.

Beshear plans to add one more investigator to the unit sometime this fall.

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