DECATUR, Ga. — Two Newton County-area residents were among seven people arrested and one molestation victim was identified by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation during a coordinated effort between two GBI special units.
William Anderson, 55, of Porterdale, and David Hawkins Sr., 57, of Social Circle, were arrested on charges they committed crimes related to the possession and distribution of child pornography under the Georgia Computer Pornography and Child Exploitation Prevention Act of 2007. .
Anderson, who works as a butcher, also was charged with Possession of Methamphetamine and weapons and other charges.
Hawkins, who works as an industrial mechanic, and Anderson were being held in the Newton County Detention Center without bond Monday,
Also charged for the same crimes and taken to the Clayton County Jail were William Calvin Babb, 20, of Hampton, a food service worker; Earon Everett, 42, of Jonesboro, a security guard; and Julio Cesar Rangal-Caston, 33, of Riverdale, who is unemployed. William Tornez Lucena, 20, of East Point and a food service worker, was charged and taken to the Fulton County Jail.
Tanita Babb, 21, of Hampton, was arrested on illegal drug charges only and taken to the Clayton County Jail, a news release stated.
Additional charges are possible and other arrests may occur after analysis of seized digital devices, according to the GBI.
The the GBI’s Child Exploitation and Computer Crimes (CEACC) Unit investigated numerous cybertips received from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) and partnered with the GBI's Special Enforcement Team (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 led to several metro Atlanta counties.
Planning for the operation began approximately 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, a news release stated.
During the effort, 10 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 — which investigators who work child exploitation investigations are increasingly seeing used as the main instrument by which predators seek out child sexual abuse material and communicate with others who are like minded, the release stated.
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 9 years old. the release stated.
In addition to the agencies involved in the planning of the operation, Newton County Sheriff’s Office and Porterdale Police Department were among local agencies assisting.
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, according to the release.
The GBI, which manages and coordinates the Georgia ICAC Task Force, received more than 11,600 cybertips from NCMEC in 2020. Cybertips continue to increase exponentially each year. The GBI CEACC Unit is on track to receive over 15,000 cybertips in 2021.
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 who 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 Georgia ICAC Task Force found over 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 from NCMEC. In 2020, 45 of the persons arrested by the Georgia ICAC Task Force were positively identified as “hands on offenders," meaning they had participated in sexual contact with a child.
The Georgia ICAC Task Force consistently finds this type of content. GBI’s CEACC Unit Special Agent in Charge and Commander of the Georgia ICAC Task Force, Debbie Garner, said, “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,” Garner said.
The Georgia ICAC Task Force is comprised of more than 260 local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, other related criminal justice agencies and prosecutor’s offices.
The mission of the ICAC Task Force, created by the U.S. Department of Justice and managed and operated by the GBI in Georgia, 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 ICAC 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.
The Georgia ICAC Task Force made 307 arrests in 2018; 474 arrests in 2019; and 396 arrests in 2020.
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.