141 Online Predators Arrested in California Child Sex Crimes Sting Operation

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California Task Force-Led Sting Operation Results in 141 Online Child Sexual Predator Arrests

California Task Force-Led Sting Operation Results in 141 Online Child Sexual Predator Arrests

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.

141 Online Predators Arrested in California Child Sex Crimes 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:

  • Adult suspects (many on parole or probation)
  • Individuals who were suspected of attempting to prey on children for sexual abuse and exploitation through the internet

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:

  • 110 counts of possession, distribution, and manufacturing of child pornography
  • 18 parole or probation violations
  • A handful of other charges that included sexual abuse of a child, statutory rape, and pimping

Among those arrested were some high-profile Angelenos:

  • A San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputy
  • A Cedars-Sinai Medical Center pediatrician

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.

The ICAC “averaged about 24,000 tips a year in 2020 and 2021 and has already passed that number this year, on pace for 36,000 by the end of December,” ABC 7 said.

How Can Parents Protect Children From Online Sexual Predators?

“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.”

“By having parents and caregivers more involved, we can reduce the number of children victimized in this manner and help to keep the Los Angeles Region safer,” the LAPD said in a press release.

California Online Sexual Predators Targeting Kids

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.

Davis is one of countless examples of sexual predators targeting children online.

Online Sexual Predator Cases Rise During the COVID-19 Pandemic

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:

  • The U.S. accounted for 30% of the global total of CSAM URLs at the end of March 2022.
  • That figure is up considerably from the 21% global share of CSAM URLs that the U.S. was confirmed to have hosted at the end of 2021.
  • 252,194 URLs containing or advertising CSAM in 2021 existed in the U.S.
  • That figure represents a staggering 64% increase from 2020.
  • 89% of the CSAM URLs were traced to image hosts, file-storing cyberlockers, and image stores.
  • 2021 was reportedly the worst year on record for child sexual abuse images online since the organization began tracking such content, with 252,194 URLs containing images or videos of children under the age of 18 being sexually abused identified (compared with 153,000 in 2020).
  • 70% of victims were between 11 and 13 years of age.
  • Where boys were included in the content, it tended to be of a “more severe category.”
  • The material was found to be predominantly self-generated and usually recorded at home using a phone or webcam.

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).

How to File a California Child Sexual Abuse Claim

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.

Our Sexual Assault Justice Experts are here to help survivors secure justice. Contact our top-rated attorneys online or by phone for a free consultation today.

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.

Go See Sam