Sep 15, 2022
Members of a Southern California law enforcement task force made more than 140 arrests over the span of seven days in a crackdown on online child sex predators, authorities confirmed Wednesday.
Operation “Protect the Innocent” involved 64 agencies across five California counties, local KTLA reported. The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) took a lead role in the multi-day sting operation.
“The goal of Operation Protect the Innocent was to conduct investigations and arrests by utilizing (CyberTips) received, identifying suspects for arrest, and contacting individuals on probation and/or parole,” the LAPD said in a press release.
The targets of the sting operation reportedly included:
Task force members also conducted compliance checks on individuals required to register on the California sex offender registry for various crimes.
During the week of September 6-12, arrests through the sting operation included:
Among those arrested were some high-profile Angelenos:
The two individuals were charged with possessing more than 600 sexually explicit images of children, a LAPD spokesperson said.
The pediatrician, Dr. Gary Goulin, was fired from the hospital sometime after his arrest last November by the LAPD’s Juvenile Division and has been ordered not to practice medicine while the case against him is pending, according to the City News Service. Goulin has since pleaded not guilty to possession of child or youth pornography, the wire service confirmed.
The Los Angeles Regional Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, which has been around for almost 25 years through a federal program run by the Department of Justice, spearheaded the overall effort, with officials announcing the results at a Wednesday news conference outside Los Angeles police headquarters.
“When we first started in 2004, we started LAPD’s ICAC because we received 458 tips that year. In 2019 that number rose to 8,500. In 2020, 2021, both years, were over 24,000. This year so far, we’re over 25,000, so we should end the year with over 36,000 cybertips,” LAPD Captain Jeff Bratcher said in an interview after the news briefing. “And each one of these tips was one more potential child victim.”
The task force relies heavily on tips from the public, according to a report from ABC 7 Los Angeles.
“So what can parents do?” LAPD Captain Jeff Bratcher asked at Wednesday’s press conference.
“Number one, be aware and educate yourself. Number two, educate your child. Number three, monitor your child’s internet usage,” he said.
Bratcher also noted that “many predators take advantage of the anonymity of the internet to target victims – for example, by infiltrating online gaming sites where they might try to convince a child to send images of themselves in exchange for virtual credits that can be used to make in-game purchases. The rise of esports and social media platforms in recent years has caused a surge in abuse reports,” according to a Los Angeles Times report.
Moreover, while parents may be “so used to seeing digital devices in their kids’ hands,” Captain Bratcher encouraged them to more closely monitor children’s internet activity, the Los Angeles Times reported.
“It’s not the same stranger in a van that your mom and dad and my mom and dad warned us about; it’s a whole different type of threat,” Bratcher said. “And they never really know who they’re talking to.”
Last month, we posted a blog detailing the arrest of a California man who is accused of posing as a prepubescent girl to establish relationships with dozens of children throughout the U.S. in an effort to force them to produce online sexual abuse content.
Demetrius Carl Davis, 24, was booked into the Sacramento County Jail in August on a charge of lewd or lascivious acts with a child under 14.
The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office reportedly identified more than 80 victims in the United States and alleged that Demetrius Carl Davis had pretended to be a young girl named Lizzy and contacted “well over 100 children” in 2020 and 2021, including some in other countries.
At Wednesday’s LAPD press conference announcing the task force’s arrests, officials said that the outbreak of the pandemic led to an alarming surge in child sex abuse reports. “Stay-at-home orders meant to slow the virus’ spread led to schools closing, youth activities being cancelled and kids spending more time online,” the Los Angeles Times reported.
In a Dordulian Law Group blog from August, we reported that the U.S. now hosts more online child sexual abuse material than any other nation, with a 64% increase reported in 2021 alone. That statistic was confirmed through new research provided by the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), a United Kingdom-based organization working to identify, flag, and remove abusive content featuring children.
According to the IWF, the following online child sexual abuse material (CSAM) statistics have been confirmed:
According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), the U.S. is one of the largest locations for reports of CSAM, with 716,474 made in 2021 (up from 494,388 in 2020).
California childhood sexual abuse civil lawsuits may be brought by survivors or family members of minors to help recover financial compensation for various types of losses. As a survivor of a childhood sex crime, you may be entitled to compensatory damages, such as counseling or therapy expenses, emotional distress, psychological harm, reduced quality of life, inability to earn a living, pain and suffering, punitive damages, and more.
Dordulian Law Group (DLG) is a Glendale, California, sexual abuse firm dedicated to helping survivors secure justice. Our founder and president, Sam Dordulian, is a former sex crimes prosecutor and Deputy District Attorney for L.A. County who has helped secure life sentences against some of our community’s most dangerous predators. Dordulian has been fighting to help survivors of childhood sexual abuse get justice through maximum financial compensation for over 25 years. Together with his team of proven and dedicated sexual abuse attorneys, Dordulian is here to help protect your rights and recover maximum financial compensation for your claim.
Currently all survivors of childhood sexual abuse are eligible to file civil claims for financial damages under California AB 218. The deadline, however, expires on December 31 of this year, after which time most claims will be barred from any future legal recourse. Accordingly, it’s important to file your claim immediately to ensure you meet the deadline and your opportunity at justice is preserved.
DLG recently secured a $2 million settlement for a childhood sexual abuse survivor under AB 218, helping the victim justice that was long overdue for crimes that occurred decades ago.
The get the justice you deserve for your childhood sexual abuse civil claim, contact a member of our team today at 818-322-4056. Our childhood sex crime attorneys have helped victims recover more than $100,000,000 in settlements and verdicts while maintaining a 98% success record, and we will provide you with the dedication, professionalism, discretion, and excellence you deserve throughout every step of the litigation process.
Our law firm in Glendale, CA advocates for victims of sexual assault, injury, employment disputes, and personal injury concerns.