1/10/2013 - YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- A few years ago, individuals who viewed and downloaded child pornography were rarely discovered. However, with new technology and assistance from the Department of Justice, law enforcement agencies within the Department of Defense are successfully detecting and prosecuting more offenders, in cooperation with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Homeland Security, Defense Criminal Forensic Lab, and National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
The production, viewing, downloading, or dissemination of images of
child pornography on computers, smartphones, or in any form is a
violation of federal law under Title 18, United States Code, Section
2256. Viewing child pornography is not a "victimless crime." In some
cases, it can involve infant rape and equally horrific acts. No matter
the type, it is the demand for child porn that drives its production.
Child victims suffer life-long psychological harm, being "re-victimized"
each time the images are viewed. One of the victims recounted:
"I want you to know...the effects of random men looking at pictures of
my sex abuse as a child ... I still have nightmares that come from
knowing that pictures of me are spread around the Internet by people
with perverted interests in my pain."
Servicemembers who download, receive, or view pornographic images of
minors (under the age of 18) face significant sanctions, including a
dishonorable discharge and ten years confinement for each violation.
Civilian employees and dependents may be transferred to U.S.
jurisdiction for prosecution, or prosecuted under Japanese law.
Offenders are registered felons subject to sexual offender registration
requirements and face other sanctions, including limited employment
opportunities, the loss of VA benefits, the ability to vote, and the
ability to possess firearms.
Because of these severe sanctions, adult pornography sites usually
exercise great caution in the materials they post on-line, making
"accidental" child porn downloads unlikely. Child pornography is often
disseminated illicitly from third countries, using multiple servers to
try to disguise the source. Multi-national law enforcement authorities
are cooperating in cracking down on those sites. Similarly, federal and
military law enforcement authorities have developed new tools to track
individuals who access child pornography.
According to Special Agent (SA) Michael Saenz, Air Force Office of
Special Investigations (AFOSI) Detachment 621, Yokota AB, "Every
internet 'hit' on a child porn site is quickly traced to the individual
IP address of the user. We can see the html address, file names, dates,
user names, and more. It doesn't take very long before we seize the
media. And even if an offender deletes the files, we're still able to
recover information--even if several years old."
Across the Air Force, the results of the new tools have been immediate.
Prosecutions have resulted in more convictions and sentences with
lengthy confinement and punitive discharges. SA Saenz added, "The sexual
exploitation of children is a terrible crime and remains a global
problem, but with increased vigilance and reporting, and these new
tools, we can better track and prosecute offenders. In the long run,
hopefully, we'll have fewer offenders and cases."
For more information, see http://www.justice.gov/criminal/ceos/subjectareas/childporn.html and http://www.missingkids.com. To anonymously report potential crimes, visit https://www.tipsubmit.com/WebTips.asp?AgencyID=1111.