KSP Lt. Howard Logue reports the results of
Operation Harvest Moon during a press conference
Oct. 30 at KSP Headquarters in Frankfort. Logue is
coordinator of Kentucky ICAC and assistant
commander of the KSP Communications and
Computer Technology Branch.
The Kentucky State Police (KSP) and the Kentucky Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force recently announced the results of a multi-agency effort to round up suspects involved in online child sexual exploitation crimes. The operation also targeted registered sexual offenders deemed noncompliant with legal residency restrictions. Code-named Operation Harvest Moon, the initiative, which began Oct. 23, culminated months of investigation by KSP and other law enforcement agencies throughout the state.
Kentucky ICAC, located within the KSP Communications and Computer Technology Branch, along with 14 participating agencies spearheaded the online investigative component of Operation Harvest Moon. The investigation resulted in 11 federal indictments and several state investigations on individuals, charging them with crimes against children in Kentucky. All of these arrests are related to possession and/or distribution of child pornography.
Amul Thabar, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern Kentucky District, said child sexual predation would not be tolerated in Kentucky. He spoke Monday during a press conference at KSP Headquarters to announce the arrests.
“The message is clear - Kentucky is and will continue to be a child-predator-free zone,” said Thabar. “The message to child sexual predators should also be clear - stay out of our state. These people are the lowest dregs of society and we will not allow them to harm our children.”
The agencies in partnership with Kentucky ICAC include the FBI, the U.S. Secret Service, the U.S. Marshals Service, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Louisville Metro Police Department, the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Division of Police, the Owensboro Police Department, the Bowling Green Police Department, the Morehead Police Department, the Winchester Police Department, the Franklin (Ky.) Police Department, the Oldham County Police Department and the Boone County Sheriff’s Department.
KSP Commissioner Jack Adams praised the cooperative effort by his agency and other law enforcement entities throughout the commonwealth.
“The KSP led this effort to identify and round up those individuals engaged in criminal online activity and in noncompliance with House Bill 3,” said Adams. “But the success of Operation Harvest Moon rests with the cooperation among law enforcement agencies throughout the state. The resources, time and energy invested by these officers, and their familiarity with their populations and locales, are responsible for the effectiveness of the operation.”
In addition to the online investigations, the KSP and task force participants identified those registered sexual offenders violating new residency restrictions. As of today KSP troopers have charged 37 individuals allegedly residing within 1,000 feet of restricted areas and an additional 58 arrests are pending.
Lt. Howard Logue, coordinator of Kentucky ICAC and assistant commander of the KSP Communications and Computer Technology Branch, said Operation Harvest Moon also provided community education on the subject of sexual predators.
“KSP public affairs officers and Kentucky ICAC Task Force personnel presented 52 programs to schools, civic groups and church audiences throughout the state during Operation Harvest Moon,” said Logue. “The goal of this outreach was to educate the public about the proliferation of child sexual exploitation and the increased use of computer Internet sources by predators searching for unsupervised contact with youth.”
“Young people are the first to embrace and experiment with electronic communication,” said Logue. “Often it is that very curiosity that can result in their victimization by those who would use technology to exploit them. Social networking sites and unsupervised Internet use have created an open forum for predators who seek contact with our children. As we work to catch these predators, we want also to educate parents, other adults and youth on ways to prevent these situations from occurring in the first place.”
Sex Offender Registry (SOR) notification requires offenders to report any address change to their local probation and parole office prior to actually moving. If an offender moves without following proper procedure, and it is discovered, then he/she is considered to be noncompliant and is subject to being charged with a Class D Felony, punishable by one to five years in prison. House Bill 3 enhanced the SOR statute by requiring all convicted sex offenders to live at least 1,000 feet from schools, licensed day-care facilities and publicly owned playgrounds, and by making possession of child pornography a felony.