Six people were arrested and one molestation victim was identified by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, during a coordinated effort between the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s Child Exploitation and Computer Crimes Unit, and the GBI’s Special Enforcement Team. Those arrested were charged with crimes related to the possession and distribution of child pornography. One additional person was arrested on charges related only to illegal drug possession.
One of the arrestees was charged with illegal drug possession in addition to charges related to the possession and distribution of child pornography.
Additional charges are possible and other arrests may occur after analysis of seized digital devices.
The GBI investigated numerous cybertips received from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and partnered with GBI SET to execute search warrants related to those cybertip investigations. The cybertips involved the possession and/or distribution of explicit child sexual abuse images, commonly referred to as child pornography, that resolved to several metro Atlanta counties. The planning for this operation began about two months ago and culminated in four days of investigative actions to include search warrant executions, knock and talks, interviews, data and image analysis, digital forensic processing, and arrests.
During the effort, ten search warrants were executed. During those search warrants 101 digital devices were previewed by GBI Digital Forensic Investigators and at least 17 of those digital devices were seized as evidence. Thirty-three of the digital devices previewed were mobile phones.
Investigators who work child exploitation investigations are increasingly seeing more mobile phones as the main instrument by which predators seek out child sexual abuse material and communicate with others who are like minded. They are also increasingly using mobile devices to contact children online. One person arrested was also found to have been chatting online with children as young as nine years old.
Those arrested and charged during this coordinated operation include:
- William Anderson, 55, Porterdale, GA, butcher (Newton County Jail)
- William Calvin Babb, 20, Hampton, GA, food service worker (Clayton County Jail)
- Earon Everett, 42, Jonesboro, GA, security guard (Clayton County Jail)
- David Hawkins, Sr., 57, Social Circle, GA, industrial mechanic (Newton County Jail)
- William Tornez Lucena, 20, East Point, GA, food service worker (Fulton County Jail)
- Julio Cesar Rangal-Caston, 33, Riverdale, GA, unemployed (Clayton County Jail)
In addition to those agencies involved in the planning of the operation, the following agencies assisted:
- Clayton County Police Department
- East Point Police Department
- Forest Park Police Department
- Newton County Sheriff’s Office
- Porterdale Police Department
- Riverdale Police Department
The operation focused on persons who possess and distribute child sexual abuse images and those who are sexually exploiting children in other ways using technology and the internet. The GBI, which manages and coordinates the Georgia task force, received over 11,600 cybertips in 2020. Cybertips continue to increase exponentially each year.
These cybertips most often involve horrific and shocking child sexual abuse images and videos involving children of all ages, including very young children, but also can involve the online enticement of children and child sex trafficking. These cybertips often lead investigators to children that are being sexually abused.
There is a known statistical correlation between those who are seeking, collecting, and viewing child sexual abuse material and those that have sexually abused children or are actively sexually abusing children. In 2020, the task force found more than 90 children living with offenders who are viewing child pornography and identified over 50 of them as victims of sexual abuse by those offenders as a result of investigating a cybertip.
In 2020, 45 of the persons arrested by the task force were positively identified as “hands on offenders”, meaning they had participated in sexual contact with a child.
GBI’s Special Agent in Charge and Commander of the task force, Debbie Garner, stated that “the dedicated law enforcement professionals that are part of the GBI and the Georgia ICAC Task Force will not cease searching for those who are producing, trading and collecting this graphic material. We will continue to work with our partners across the state and the country to find, investigate and prosecute these predators and rescue children who are being abused. We are thankful for the efforts of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children for managing the cybertip process that produces information that leads us to children that are being sexually abused and have not yet disclosed that unspeakable abuse.”
In 2018, the task force made 307 arrests. In 2019, the task force made 474 arrests. In 2020, the task force made 396 arrests.
Anyone with information about other cases of child exploitation is asked to contact the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Child Exploitation and Computer Crimes Unit at 404-270-8870. Tips can also be submitted by calling 1-800-597-TIPS(8477), online at https://gbi.georgia.gov/submit-tips-online, or by downloading the See Something, Send Something mobile app.
Reminder: Crime stories contain only charges and information from police reports. Suspects and defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
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