MADISON – Attorney General Brad Schimel on Wednesday announced that the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force participated in Operation Broken Heart, which joined 61 ICAC task forces nationwide during a two-month operation identifying and arresting suspected child sexual predators during April and May 2017.
Marathon County is one of 30 federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies and advocacy groups that participated in the operation.
“There is no higher charge I have as Attorney General than to lock up sexual predators and to empower our local law enforcement to do the same,” said Attorney General Schimel. “Internet crimes against children are often the most complex cases law enforcement and prosecutors take on, involving complicated web networks that cross state lines. Operations like this one allow law enforcement agencies across the nation to work together in a focused manner to lock up these predators. DOJ and Wisconsin’s ICAC task forces’ work to arrest more than 80 suspected criminals and train so many people on internet safety will help keep our children safe and our communities strong.”
During Operation Broken Heart, the Wisconsin ICAC Task Force made more than 80 arrests, including 16 arrests that were made during Operation New Hope, a week-long operation focused on child exploitations and online crimes in Wisconsin. The Task Force also trained 480 law enforcement officers and other professionals on techniques to investigate and prosecute ICAC-related cases, and gave presentations on internet safety to over 7,000 people.
Nationwide, ICAC Task Forces arrested 1,012 suspected child predators from more than 40 states, following the investigation of more than 69,000 cases. The national crackdown targeted offenders who: (1) possess, manufacture, and distribute child pornography; (2) engage in online enticement of children for sexual purposes; (3) engage in the commercial sexual exploitation of children (commonly referred to as child sex trafficking), and (4) engage in child sex tourism (traveling abroad for the purpose of sexually abusing foreign children). The operation included more than 4,500 federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies across the United States.
The ICAC Task Force Program was launched in 1998 to help federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies enhance their investigative responses to individuals who use the Internet, online communication systems, or computer technology to exploit children, to date, the ICAC Task Forces have reviewed more than 705,963 complaints of child exploitation, which resulted in the arrest of more than 75,688 individuals. In addition, since the ICAC program’s inception, more than 585,604 law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and other professionals have been trained on techniques to investigate and prosecute ICAC-related cases. ICAC is also provides online safety training for parents, teachers, and communities through educational programming and the Protect Kids Online Podcast.
For more information on ICAC and how to protect children online, go to: www.ProtectKidsOnlineWI.gov