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Posted: April 10, 2013 1:31 p.m.

Local arrested in child porn sting

The Newton County Sheriff's Office made one arrest as a result of Operation Guarding Innocence, a collaboration with the NCSO, Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force.  

Newton County resident Thomas Blake Henson, 27, has been charged with the sexual exploitation of children and computer pornography Act of 2007, after a team served a search warrant at his Steele Road home and was able to recover evidence from the residence. Steele Road is located at the multi-road intersection of Ga. Highway 36, Flat Shoals Road and Henderson Mill Road.

Henson, along with dozens of others throughout the state, were picked up as a result of a three month investigation coordinated by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and ICAC, search warrants are being executed today in 37 Georgia Counties in connection with the distribution of child porn over the Internet.

Known as Operation Guarding Innocence, this state-wide endeavor includes 50 teams representing 47 federal, state and local law enforcement and criminal justice agencies.

The agencies participating in Operation Guarding Innocence are as follows:

Georgia Bureau Of Investigation
U.S. Postal Inspection Service
U.S. Secret Service
Homeland Security Investigations
Federal Bureau Of Investigation
U.S. Marshal Service
Bureau Of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms And Explosives
United States Attorney’s Office Northern District Of Georgia
United States Attorney’s Office Southern District Of Georgia
United States Attorney’s Office Middle District Of Georgia
Houston County Sheriff’s Office
Gwinnett County Police Department
Atlanta Police Department
Cobb County Police Department
Newton County Sheriff’s Office
DeKalb County Police Department
Henry County Police Department
Walton County Sheriff’s Office
Paulding County Sheriff’s Office
Kingsland Police Department
Sandy Springs Police Department
Liberty County Sheriff’s Office
Clayton County Police Department
Douglas County Sheriff’s Office
Richmond County Sheriff’s Office
Columbia County Sheriff’s Office
St. Mary’s Police Department
Camden County Sheriff’s Office
Loganville Police Department
Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office
Effingham County Sheriff’s Office
Army CID
Athens-Clarke Police Department
Coweta County Sheriff’s Office
Union City Police Department
Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office
Savannah-Metro Police Department
Roswell Police Department
Watkinsville Police Department
Powder Springs Police Department
Lamar County Sheriff’s Office
Warner Robins Police Department
Columbus Police Department
Bartow County Sheriff’s Office
Marietta Police Department
Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office
Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office

This operation, which ran from January through March, centered on the ability of GBI agents and local affiliates that are members of the Georgia ICAC Task Force to detect specific child porn images being shared over the Internet. Ninety-eight suspects have been identified as distributing child porn over the Internet and are targeted for search warrants in today’s operation.

The mission of the ICAC Task Force Program, created by the U. S. Department of Justice and housed within the GBI, is to assist state and local law enforcement agencies in developing an effective response to cyber enticement and child pornography cases. This support encompasses forensic and investigative components, training and technical assistance, victim services, prevention and community education. The program was developed in response to the increasing number of children and teenagers using the Internet, the proliferation of child pornography, and the heightened online activity by predators searching for unsupervised contact with underage victims. By helping state and local law enforcement agencies develop effective and sustainable responses to online child victimization and child pornography, the ICAC program delivers national resources at the local level.

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, a time to raise awareness about child abuse and neglect. The ICAC Task Force Program is an important partnership that focuses its efforts to protect children on-line and hold offenders accountable. The ICAC Task Force investigators are committed to working tirelessly to strengthen police relationships and promoting awareness and participation in order to produce positive results that help make the Internet a safer place for America’s children.

In 2008, the Georgia ICAC Task Force made 109 arrests and in 2009 made 164 arrests. In 2010, the Task Force made 162 arrests and in 2011, made 173 arrests. There were a total of 163 arrests made in 2012. There have been 974 arrests in Georgia by the ICAC Task Force since it was established in 2002.

The Georgia ICAC Task Force website is www.familyinternet.info and the GBI website is http://gbi.georgia.gov/.

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