Press Release

For Immediate Release
Contact: Cara Smith
312-814-3118
877-844-5461 (TTY)

csmith@atg.state.il.us
August 10, 2006

MADIGAN AWARDS GRANT TO DECATUR POLICE DEPARTMENT TO HELP COMBAT ON-LINE PREDATORS

Decatur – Attorney General Lisa Madigan today announced the award of $14,000 in state-of-the art computer forensic hardware, software and training to the Decatur Police Department. The grant was the first made from Illinois’ Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force to fulfill its mission of increasing the forensic capabilities of Illinois police agencies in the recovery of evidence in child exploitation cases.

Joined by Macon County State’s Attorney Jack Ahola, Decatur Police Chief James Anderson and Captain Rick Bright of the Macon County Sheriff’s Department, Madigan commended Macon County law enforcement for their commitment to protecting the children of Macon County from sexual predators.

“As younger children become more frequent internet users, the need to protect them from the dangers lurking on-line has increased,” Madigan said. According to a national survey of youth conducted by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children ( www.missingkids.com), 34% of youth surveyed reported seeing sexually explicit material on-line, 9% of youth reported being harassed on-line and 13% of youth surveyed reported being solicited for sex on-line.

“We must be vigilant in protecting the children of Illinois from the threat of on-line predators” Madigan said. “The Decatur Police Department is a statewide leader in child exploitation investigations. This equipment will further enhance the Department’s ability to identify, arrest and prosecute sexual predators.”

Illinois’ Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, based in the Attorney General’s Office, was created in 2004 and is funded through a grant from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Currently, approximately 60 law enforcement agencies statewide are partners of ICAC and work collaboratively to combat child victimization in Illinois.

ICAC’s goal is to identify, arrest and convict sex offenders who prey on children using computer technology - including the Internet. In the first six months of 2006, Illinois ICAC was responsible for the arrest of 34 individuals for crimes including child pornography, indecent solicitation of a child, sexual abuse and sexual assault.

As part of its work, ICAC receives and investigates tips, including cybertips received from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Along with leading investigations, ICAC conducts forensic exams on computers and provides other technical assistance to law enforcement agencies throughout the state. Additionally, Madigan’s High Tech Crimes Bureau and ICAC provide internet safety trainings to parents and children in communities around the state.

More information on Illinois’ Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, including information on how to protect children from on-line dangers, can be found at www.illinoisicac.org.

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