EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSCHILD PORN CRACKDOWN
from Eyewitness News Online
Kanawha County Spearheading Effort To Crackdown On Child Porn
Reported by: Leslie Rubin
Videographer: Troy Morgan
Web Producer: Leslie Rubin
Reported: Feb. 15, 2012 9:30 PM EST
Updated: Feb. 15, 2012 10:06 PM EST
Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia
Child pornography cases are growing at an alarming rate across the state, but prosecuting them can take years because of a massive backlog.
Kanawha County is spearheading an effort to streamline those cases.
Determining if a single image is in fact child pornography is a long, complex process, but in Kanawha County it's a mission that's bringing justice faster than ever before.
Several years ago, assistant prosecuting attorney Erica Lord's son suddenly passed away. Now, she's one of two prosecutors who's main mission is to bring justice to exploited children.
"It's a way for me to be able to carry on his memory. For me to be able to help other children out there who don't have a voice," she explains.
Most child porn cases have no victim that appears in court. Their image is traded across the country and they become a face with no name.
They wind up in the hands of people like Ryan Montgomery, 39, of Dunbar.
Montgomery was arrested on Wednesday after police say he took his computer to a computer repair shop in South Charleston. They say a technician found graphic child porn. They were images digital forensic examiner Jeremy Burns knew was a child victim.
"Somebody has to be a voice for these children and if that has to be me, then I'll do it," explains Deputy Burns. Eighty-percent of his time deals with child porn. His number one mission is to monitor and track down those who posses the images.
"I basically go through every picture, every video, every file on somebody's hard drive until I find the evidence that's needed for prosecution," explains Burns.
His job is unique. In recent past, every confiscated image had to be run through the West Virginia State Police. In turn, cases sometimes took more than a year to prosecute because of the backlog. Now, he can do it in just weeks in Kanawha County's digital forensic lab.
"The message is that with today's technology you're going to get caught. I mean, it will happen," explains assistant prosecutor Dan Holstein.
Bringing justice to those who may never even know it.
"It's our job to make the juries understand and the judges understand, this is not a victimless crime. That child, whoever that child is in that image, is still being victimized every time that image is shared," says Lord.
Montgomery is being held on a $25,000 bond. His arrest was a joint effort between the Kanawha County Sheriff's Office and South Charleston Police Department.
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