Money changes everything when it comes to stopping Internet predators. That is why Operation Kids was proud to present Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff $200,000 on Monday to help fund undercover operations targeting online child abuse. Shurtleff accepted the donation from Operation Kids on behalf of the Utah Attorney General’s Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force.
It is easy to forget that there are children being victimized in our own neighborhoods. The Utah ICAC Task Force initially received $50,000 from Operation Kids and used it to mount two month-long undercover operations. These two operations resulted in charges against 33 suspected child predators and child pornographers. Now when ICAC ran their sting operations this spring, we were not so much shocked by the number of arrests, as saddened to learn they could achieve equal results during most any 30-day period of the year.
Unfortunately, the ICAC Task Force is experiencing the same budget reductions as other state agencies. Notwithstanding, the task force has logged a nationally unprecedented 40% increase in arrests and convictions over the previous year. This increase is due to the dedication of ICAC investigators to protect children and families and to the additional staff hours funded by these donations.
For those you of you who attended our gala honoring John Walsh last year, this donation is result of private and corporate pledges made that evening. Walsh, as we all know, is the dedicated host of America’s Most Wanted and has been instrumental in the apprehension of over 1,050 dangerous fugitives and in bringing home more than 50 missing children in the past 22 years. And we made a decisions that all funds raised during that night would benefit organizations serving child safety initiatives, as a tribute to Walsh.
Through this second donation to the Utah’s ICAC Task Force, we are honored to support law enforcement and are proud to do our part in capturing more of those who prey on our most vulnerable citizens…our children.