National operation puts hundreds of suspected child sex predators behind bars

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — More than 1,300 people suspected of being child sexual predators were arrested across the country.

It was done under Operation Broken Heart, a national operation through Internet Crimes Against Children task forces during April and May of this year.

Within the state, the Colorado ICAC task force served 56 search warrants, arresting 40 people.

In Colorado Springs alone,10 were taken into custody.

“This is a specific program that was given a title that we participate in, but even if it wasn’t going on, the ICACs are still working to protect children,” said Lt. Christina Sheppard, with tactical investigations for the Colorado Springs Police Department.

The operation targeted individuals who engage in the sexual exploitation of children, from child pornography and child prostitution.

“Depending on what’s going on in a child’s life, depending on what adult may be grooming them, they can can instruct them on how to make it so that their parents are unable to track or know where to look on their computers or cell phones for things that they’re doing,” Sheppard said.

CSPD adds children can be more advanced in technology compared to their parents and that can make it challenging for parents to keep an eye on their kids.

“Children understand computers sometimes much better than their parents do. They’re able to maneuver around, they’re given cell phones that also have those capabilities,” Sheppard said.

According to CSPD, they’ve seen victims as young as infants. Over the years, CSPD says these investigations have increased and it’s thanks to cyber-tips.

“It could be that somebody is downloading child porn and someone has seen it on their computer, it can be someone is being molested in a home, just various information,” Sheppard said.

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