Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office’s admittance into the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force Program. Run by the DOJ’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the ICAC Task Force Program unites thousands of law enforcement officials at federal, state, and local levels to fight the sexual exploitation of children online. The Office will join New York City’s ICAC Task Force as an affiliate to the New York City Police Department.
“We are proud to work with the NYPD and become members of the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, whose resources will enhance this Office’s ability to fight for justice for innocent victims,” said District Attorney Vance. “Every time an image of sexual assault is created, a child is victimized, and every time that image is disseminated, that child is victimized once again. These physically and psychologically damaging sexual assaults are real crimes being committed against real children.”
New York City Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said: “The Internet is an incredible resource, but it also can serve as a conduit for crime, none more vile than those crimes that target children. That’s why this task force is so important.”
This affiliation builds on District Attorney Vance’s ongoing commitment to protecting children from predators. Last year, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office investigated and prosecuted more than 30 individuals engaged in the online exploitation of children. The defendants in those cases used peer-to-peer technology, akin to that popularly used to swap online music and audio files, to download and share illegal images of child sexual assault. The victims in the images charged in those cases are both male and female, and range in age from infants to teenagers. Some of the downloaded content documented the graphic sexual assault of children.
The ICAC Program consists of a nationwide network of 61 Task Forces. In addition to investigating and prosecuting crimes against children committed online, the ICAC Task Force Program strives to raise awareness of the potential dangers of the internet through educating children, parents, law enforcement officers, and professionals who work with children. Federal funding provides the training and technical resources necessary to combat crimes against children perpetrated on the internet. The ICAC Program received $75 million in federal funding in 2010, including $50 million through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
New York State’s ICAC Task Force was created in 1998, establishing a formal partnership between the State’s Division of Criminal Justice Services, the New York State Police, and the New York State Attorney General’s Office. The program has expanded to include more than a dozen affiliate agencies, including police departments and District Attorney’s Offices across New York State.
Anyone with information about criminal activity related to the possession or dissemination of images of child sexual assault in Manhattan is urged to call the District Attorney’s Office’s Child Abuse Hotline at 212-335-4308.