14 News Special Report: Preventing child predators - Tri-State News, Weather & Sports

14 News Special Report: Preventing child predators

Investigators have new tools in their arsenal when it comes to tracking predators, like Richard Finkbiner, who view and making child porn since October.

At least 7 people have been charged in the Tri-State and the police say they're on the trail of dozens more.

One in four girls as well as one in six boys will be sexually abused before they turn 18.

That's a couple kids at your child's birthday party or a handful in your kid's classroom. So if you could do anything to keep this from happening, would you?

A guy that graduated high school and has just a regular job to the President or CEO of a major company that's involved in this stuff.

To call Detective Bryan Brown 'determined' would be an understatement.

Detective Brown says that they've got a lot more to worry about these days and that he's on their trail.

Brown leads a joint effort between Evansville Police and the FBI's Child Exploitation Task Force.

He says they're using new technology that's being used across the country, that somehow tracks child porn images back to the predators that put them there.

By law, he can't tell us exactly how it works, but it appears to be working.

"It's making a pretty big dent," says Brown. "I mean, you've seen it in the news. So it's making a pretty big splash I think."

Since October, multiple investigations have landed at least seven Tri-State men and women behind bars.

Among them, former daycare worker and nanny, Sarah Cox with more than 40 counts. And John Smith who's accused of having more than 5,000 child porn images on his home computer.

"The reality of it is there's a market for it and that's the sad reality of it," says Brown.

"If there wasn't a market for it, then people wouldn't be filming it or producing the videos and the pictures and wouldn't be distributing them."

Emily Morrison with Evansville's Lampion Center says the number one to prevent this from happening is to report it.

"You need to trust your guy and you need to make those reports to the Department of Child Services," says Morrison.

"It's a crime and it's exploitation of children in so many different ways," Brown tells us.

"If you know one person is abusing a child, it's not just that one child that we know about, you know," says Morrison.

"There could be ten other children right behind them that we don't have the story about."

Morrison says Lampion has counselors there to help when these crimes hit close to home.

"This isn't something that happens down the street or in someone else's neighborhood. It's happening everywhere and it could be happening in your family," says Morrison.

Child porn is becoming an epidemic in the Tri-State.

Detective Brown says because of cell phones and digital cameras, it's easier than ever to produce and upload it straight to the Internet and with half the world's child pornography produced in the U.S., Brown says investigators are ready for a long, drawn out fight.

"These folks think they can hide in the shadows, that they're behind a computer screen so it's not that big of a deal," says Brown

"I think at the end of the day, that's probably the thing that drives investigators that work in this area; is to know that you've taken those children out of an abusive situation."

Investigators say they can't stress enough how important it is to report child sexual abuse and child porn.

Once they're uploaded, Brown says they will never be completely gone so these victims are left knowing these pictures and videos may be there forever.

If you have any information regarding child porn call police immediately.

Even if it's just a hunch, you may help save a child from a life of abuse.

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