Internet Operation leads to pedophile arrest

Sunday, November 05, 2006

A man who was sexually abusing a young girl in his home was arrested after he transmitted images of the assault via the Internet to an undercover detective, police said Thursday.

The girl, a preschooler, was rescued two hours later in what Toronto police's child exploitation unit said was its first case of observing a live assault.

"My first reaction was that I wanted to reach through the monitor and grab the child," said Detective Paul Krawczyk, the undercover officer who witnessed the alleged assault Sunday.

He alerted police in St. Thomas, a city in southwestern Ontario where police believed the man lived, and they were able to track him down in two hours.

"To see this child and look that child in the eyes and realize that the child was live somewhere, being abused, we had to save the child right then," Krawczyk said at a news conference. "The minute we realized what was happening, we went as fast as we could."

Software Program Aids Hunt
Krawczyk belongs to Toronto's Child Exploitation Section, acclaimed for its work tracking down child pornographers on the Internet. Microsoft teamed with the detectives last year to launch a software program designed to help police forces around the world hunt down child porn Internet traffickers.

"The message to all pedophiles and people who want to sexually exploit children on the Internet is that we are on the Internet 24/7, we know where you are and we will find you," Krawczyk said.

Krawczyk, who was posing as an online pedophile, said he established a relationship with the man in an Internet chat room for pedophiles in January.

After the detective gained his trust, the suspect on Sunday sent still images recorded on a Web cam, which were transmitted in "real time" to a private site, which Krawczyk declined to disclose.

"I can't get into exactly what the program is," Krawczyk told The Associated Press, "but you see the images immediately. I was talking with him and, I can't get into the details of what were in the pictures, but I knew that it was happening live."

Cause for Arrest
He said the identity of the 34-year-old man was not being released to protect the girl. He declined to say whether the suspect was related to her.

Krawczyk said the girl was safe with family members and getting medical care.

The man's bail hearing was set for Tuesday and he faces 10 charges of sexual assault and the production, possession and distribution of child pornography.

Krawczyk said that although he had established a relationship with the suspect last January, it was not until Sunday, when he observed the live assault, that police had cause to arrest him. He would not say how he tracked the suspect down to St. Thomas.

The Child Exploitation unit is credited with helping Florida police locate a young girl who had appeared in a series of sexually explicit photographs taken at a Walt Disney World hotel.
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