FISHERS, Ind. (WISH) — More than 10 suspects are behind bars after a yearslong investigation into a child pornography. That investigation ended up rescuing more than a dozen children.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office on Tuesday recognized Hamilton County officers for their work to protect children.
“What these agents, officers and attorneys have to do is go into the dark, where these monsters hide, to identify them and put a case against them,” said Josh Minkler, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Indiana.
That’s what Fishers and Carmel police officers who work with the Hamilton County Metropolitan Child Exploitation Task Force did, and it led them to 30-year-old Bradley Dennison, of southern Indiana.
Dennison, who has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for sexual exploitation of a child, is just one of several suspects caught during undercover Operation Dry Dock.
“They were using an online social networking phone application, which basically lets you form your own chatroom and exchange child pornography,” said Steven DeBrota, the deputy chief of the General Crimes Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Those social network links connected investigators to a host of other suspects in Indiana and around the globe.
“For the 10 individuals we talked about today, part were Operation Dry Dock, part were individuals prosecuted from this task force. We lock them up and throw away the key. Our goal is that they never get out of prison,” Minkler explained.
To date, the program has facilitated the rescues of 18 children in Indiana, Louisiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Texas, Canada and South Africa.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Hamilton County Metropolitan Child Exploitation Task Force is comprised of police officers from the Carmel Police Department, Fishers Police Department, and the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations Task Force.
The U.S. Attorneys Office honored that task force on Tuesday, for their work as part of the federal Project Safe Childhood initiative.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Project Safe Childhood initiative launched in 2006 and aims to combat the proliferation of technology-facilitated sexual exploitation crimes against children. The threat of sexual predators soliciting children for physical sexual contact is well known and serious; the danger of perpetrators who produce, distribute, and possess child pornography is equally dramatic and disturbing, the office said.
“They’re passionate about the investigations. Of course, saving children and preventing children from being victimized or exploited. I can’t think of anything more important,” said Carmel Deputy Police Chief Aaron Dietz.
There was a clear message Tuesday to anyone hurting Hoosier children.
“To those monsters, those individuals that commit these crimes: We will go into the dark. We will find you. We will prosecute you. We will lock you up. And we will throw away the key, and we will spare no expense to do that.”
The U.S. Department of Justice has helpful information for parents to report violations involving children.
To report an incident involving the possession, distribution, receipt or production of child pornography, file a report with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children or call 1-800-843-5678. Your report will be forwarded to a law enforcement agency for investigation and action.
To report an incident or suspicious situation that may involve the extraterritorial sexual exploitation of children, call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1-888-373-7888.
You can also report an incident or suspicious situation to Immigration and Customs Enforcement/ Homeland Security Investigations by calling the ICE hotline at 1-866-347-2423, or emailing ICE at predator@DHS.gov.
To report obscene material sent to a child, a misleading domain name or misleading words or images on the Internet, file a report with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, or call 1-800-843-5678. Your report will be forwarded to a law enforcement agency for investigation and action.
To report obscene or indecent material broadcast over the radio or television, contact the Federal Communications Commission, which regulates radio and television broadcasting. You can report a complaint by calling the FCC at 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888- 225-5322), faxing 1-866-418-0232, or writing to the FCC at:
Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau Consumer Inquiries and Complaints Division
445 12th St., SW
Washington, DC 20554
To report individuals engaged in fraudulent or unfair trade practices involving unsolicited emails, porn-spam, media violence or identity theft, contact the Federal Trade Commission and file a online consumer complaint form.