139 Arrested in LAPD Raid Targeting Child Cyber Sex Crimes

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LAPD Arrests 139 in Sting Operation Targeting Online Crimes Against Children

LAPD Arrests 139 in Sting Operation Targeting Online Crimes Against Children

Jul 27, 2023

The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) announced the arrests of 139 individuals in connection with child sex abuse and child pornography crimes. A “sweeping, multi-agency crackdown” took place earlier this month, according to a report from KTLA.

The raid was dubbed Operation Online Guardian and included more than 100 law enforcement agencies that comprise LAPD’s Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force.

Child exploitation is one of the most horrendous crimes affecting our most vulnerable members of the community,” Assistant U.S. Attorney General Joe McNally said at a news conference Wednesday morning. “Through these crimes, predators target those who can’t protect themselves.”

Law enforcement officials executed the operation in two phases between July 10 and July 21:

  1. Officers went undercover online posing as criminals trafficking in child pornography.
  2. Search warrants were issued in five counties throughout Southern California.

In a statement, the LAPD said:

“Vulnerable children were rescued from further abuse, and victims who had been silenced by the atrocious crimes of child sexual abuse found their voices restored.”

139 suspects were arrested in relation to myriad online sex crimes:

  • Sodomy of a child under 10 years of age
  • Continuous sexual abuse of a child
  • Lewd acts with a child
  • Meeting a minor for lewd purposes/sex
  • Contact/attempt contact with minor for sex
  • Sending obscene matter to a child for sex
  • Penetration with a foreign object by force or fear
  • Sodomy
  • Possession of child sexual abuse material
  • Distribution of child sexual abuse material
  • Child annoying
  • Failure to register as a convicted sex offender
  • Violation of conditions of parole
  • Violation of conditions of probation

“During the operation, our dedicated investigators demonstrated their unwavering commitment and compassion as they embarked on a critical mission to protect the innocent,” the LAPD added in its statement.

The LAPD’s Internet Crimes Against Children unit served as the primary clearing house for all “CyberTips” within the five aforementioned Los Angeles-area counties. Said CyberTips are received from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) and relayed to the LAPD’s ICAC Unit.

The CyberTips include reports from various Internet Service Providers and citizens reporting incidents that involve the possession, distribution, and manufacturing of child sexual abuse material, and the online sexual exploitation of children,” the LAPD said.

The Internet Crimes Against Children Program was developed by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, according to CBS News.

The agency’s mission is to “assist local, state, and federal law enforcement with investigating internet-related crimes against youth.”

“Although Operation Online Guardian has concluded, the LA ICAC Task Force will remain vigilant and continue their mission to protect our children,” the LAPD said. “Despite the numerous resources that assist the LA ICAC Task Force in the battle against the sexual exploitation of children, there are victims who are unnoticed. Therefore, we are asking the community for their help in this fight.”
KTLA reported that law enforcement continue to investigate a “shocking number of crimes involving internet child predators” despite resources being limited. If you suspect any potential child sexual abuse activity, law enforcement officials urge you to report incidents to Take it Down.

Cyberbullying and Sextortion Scams Increasing According to FBI

In 2022, the FBI warned of a “huge increase” in sextortion scams targeting teenagers. The law enforcement agency issued warnings for parents and caregivers related to a concerning number of incidents – many of which impact young children.

“The FBI is receiving an increasing number of reports of adults posing as young girls coercing young boys through social media to produce sexual images and videos and then extorting money from them,” a press release from the FBI’s San Francisco Field Office stated in August 2022.

The Cyberbullying Research Center confirms that:

  • Male teens and kids are significantly more likely to have experienced sextortion (both as a victim and as an offender).
  • Adolescents who identified as non-heterosexual are more than twice as likely to be the victim of sextortion.

Information on Sextortion for Parents

Sextortion typically involves an adult contacting a minor over an online platform – often those used to meet and communicate (e.g. a game, app, or social media account).
“In a scheme that has recently become more prevalent, the predator (posing as a young girl) uses deception and manipulation to convince a young male, usually 14 to 17 years old, to engage in explicit activity over video, which is then secretly recorded by the predator,” the FBI said.

Predators may initiate contact with unsuspecting teens and kids under the guise of:

  • A friendship
  • Scammers posing as employees for modeling agencies and requesting photos and/or videos

Law enforcement agencies note that a predator then typically follows the following pattern:

  • Revealing that they have made the recordings of the victim
  • Attempting to extort the victim for money to prevent the recordings from being posted online

Many of the subjects are overseas and will often demand money in increasing amounts if any is sent during the initial request,” the FBI said last year.

Help for Victims of Online Child Sex Abuse and Exploitation

Online child exploitation or image-based sexual abuse (IBSA) is considered an urgent national issue. Law enforcement agencies at the federal and state levels have taken action in response to the growing threat from online predators.

In fact, a recent report from The Hill highlighted the widespread nature of child sexual abuse, noting that:

“Every minute we fail to act is a minute that another child is in danger of joining the 1-in-4 girls and 1-in-13 boys who experience sexual violence and abuse.”

If you experienced a sexual assault incident, don’t wait to file a claim. Contact our expert attorneys online or by phone for a free consultation today.

If you have a child sexual abuse claim, the team of dedicated, experienced, and proven sex crime lawyers at Dordulian Law Group (DLG) is here to fight aggressively for the justice and maximized financial compensation you deserve. Contact our top-rated child sex abuse attorneys at 866-GO-SEE-SAM for a free and confidential consultation. We’ll provide you with all legal options and answer any questions you have regarding your case.

A child sexual abuse civil lawsuit can be a means of recovering financial damages for the harm endured as a result of an inline predator’s actions. We’re standing by 24/7 to help you take the first step toward securing justice.

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