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U.S. attorney in Florida touts 1,500 child predator prosecutions under DOJ initiative | #childpredator | #kidsaftey | #childsaftey


Dec. 29 (UPI) — The U.S. attorney for the middle District of Florida said Thursday that, under the Department of Justice’s Project Safe Childhood, his office has reached a milestone of 1,500 child predators prosecuted.

“From the beginning of Project Safe Childhood in 2006 through the present day, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida has been a national leader in aggressively prosecuting those sexual predators who seek to use the Internet to harm and exploit children,” said United States Attorney Handberg in a statement.

The nationwide initiative to fight the growing number of cases of child sexual exploitation and abuse mobilizes federal, state and local resources to legally go after people who exploit children. The project identifies and rescues victims when possible as perpetrators are prosecuted.

Handberg said his office charged over a hundred defendants during 2023, the third-highest total ever for that office.

The crimes in these cases include coercing children to produce child sexual material, engage in sexual conduct as well as possessing, distributing and processing images of children being sexually abused.

Handberg cited several examples of cases handled by his office.

  • Among them were a 25-year sentence for 51-year-old Naples resident Jeffrey Holcombe for producing images and videos depicting child sex abuse.
  • In September, 44-year-old Paul Edward Lee Jr. of Jacksonville got 30 years in prison for attempting to entice a 14-year-old to produce and send videos and images depicting child sex abuse. Lee already was designated a sexual predator for previous for previous convictions. An FBI agent posing as the child victim took over the child’s gaming app account to communicate with Lee.
  • In March, 52-year-old Eddie Joe Oglesby of Fort McCoy got 80 years in prison for posing as a federal agent as he produced and received child sex abuse material, according Handberg.
  • And in a Tampa case in May, Brooke Sparks, 38, of St. Petersburg was sentenced to 40 years in a case involving Homeland Security and Australian Federal Police. Sparks was sharing child sexual abuse material via Facebook.

“Homeland Security Investigation, with our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners, will aggressively pursue those who prey on children” said HSI Tampa Special Agent in Charge John Condon in a statement. “We are committed to identifying and arresting these egregious criminals, who produce and share horrible images of children being sexually exploited.”

The five components of Project Safe Childhood are building partnerships; coordinating law enforcement; training PSC partners; public awareness; and accountability.



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