Child sexual abuse statistics in the United States
Law enforcement officers in eight Southeastern states, including North Carolina, arrested 82 people in a child sexual exploitation and pornography sweep, the State Bureau of Investigation said Friday.
A total of 17 children were rescued or identified as victims, according to an SBI email news release.
Seven of the people arrested during the sweep — dubbed Operation Southern Impact III — traveled to meet and have sex with a minor, the release said.
The sweep focused on “persons who possess and distribute child pornography and those who are sexually exploiting children in other ways using technology and the internet,” it continued.
“Much of what the ICAC (Internet Crimes Against Children) Task Force does happens quietly,” said Alan K. Flora, commander of the N.C. ICAC Task Force, in the release. “It’s often impossible to tell our stories without revealing the identities of minors who have already been through traumatic events. This three-day operation provides a snapshot of the work that the ICAC Task Force is doing round the clock, seven days per week.”
“Predators are real, and they walk among us,” he said.
North Carolina officers executed nine search warrants and conducted 38 “knock and talks” during the operation. Six people were arrested, the release said.
An SBI spokeswoman said as of Friday afternoon she could provide the names of five people arrested:
▪ Joshua Hall, arrested by the Guilford County Sheriff’s Office, charged with indecent liberties with a minor.
▪ Christopher John Authement, arrested in Nash County by the SBI, charged with second-degree sexual exploitation of a minor.
▪ George Beall, arrested by Homeland Security Investigations-Charlotte, charged with federal probation violations and possession of child pornography.
▪ David Kimball, arrested by the Cary Police Department, charged with sexual exploitation of a minor.
▪ Paul Sullivan, arrested by the Cary Police Department, charged with sexual exploitation of a minor.
Kimball, 34, of Raleigh, worked as a youth pastor at Cornerstone Presbyterian Church and had photos of nude children, according to arrest warrants. A town of Cary spokesman said earlier this week the town did not know where the pictures were taken or the children’s identities.
Sullivan, 51, of Cary faces 16 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, according to arrest records. He made his first court appearance Friday and is being held on $3 million bail.
All told, those arrested in the eight states range in age from 20 to 70 years old, the SBI news release said.
“Some of their occupations included restaurant employee, firefighter, shipping company employee, small business owner, railroad company employee, store clerk, IT specialist, youth minister, construction worker, graphic designer and students,” the release said.
The operation followed a four-month investigation coordinated by 10 Internet Crimes Against Children Task Forces in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia.
A total of 171 law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies participated in the operation.