Nine arrested in Clackamas County on various charges related to child exploitation
During a sting last weekend, Clackamas County Sheriff's Office arrested nine suspects who showed up at a house looking for sex with children.
According to a press release, the Sheriff's Office worked with several other agencies on Nov. 17-19 as a part of the Inter-agency Child Exploitation Prevention Team (INTERCEPT) to put together the sting known as "Operation Kidsafe."
The sting involved setting up a meeting place in Clackamas County. The suspects had been interacting online with "chatters," who were actually law enforcement professionals certified to pose as minors.
Nine suspects showed up at the meeting place expecting to have sexual liaisons with children ages 14 and younger, but instead, they were greeted by law enforcement and arrested on various charges including online sex corruption of a child, encouraging child sex abuse and luring a minor. Their bail ranges from $20,000 to $60,000.
"For an operation like this to be successful—and this one was very successful—it requires time, resources and money from a number of partner agencies," said Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts. "Front-line troops and leaders from local, regional and federal agencies really came together for this one."
The operation involved 44 professionals from Clackamas County Sheriff's Office and several additional agencies including Multnomah County Sheriff's Office, Washington State Highway Patrol, Department of Homeland Security, Oregon State Police, Oregon City Police, Clackamas County District Attorney's Office and U.S. Attorney's Office of Oregon.
Detectives are following up on leads that came about as a result of Operation Kidsafe, and they hope to make more arrests in the near future, per the press release.
"Preventing child exploitation is a huge priority for the Sheriff's Office and the cornerstone of INTERCEPT's mission," Roberts said. "We couldn't be prouder."
INTERCEPT came together in October 2007 to combine the resources of local, state and federal law enforcement agencies in the fight against online child sexual predators in the Portland metropolitan area. It is a part of the Oregon Department of Justice's Internet Crimes Against Children task force program, which is a national network representing more than 4,500 federal, state and local law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies.
The task forces exist because a problem exists. According to a study from the National Center for Mission & Exploited Children in partnership with Cox Communication, 71 percent of teens report receiving online messages from someone they do not know, and 45 percent were solicited for personal information. According to a U.S. Department of Justice study, 13 percent of children ages 10-17 received unwanted sexual solicitation online, and 4 percent received messages requesting nude or sexually explicit photos of themselves.
Agencies who are a part of the national task force are always working to catch and prosecute people involved in child abuse and internet child exploitation, through proactive means like Operation Kidsafe as well as through reactive investigations.