Finally some good news in the ongoing war against child pornography. Photos of an alleged child porn producer known only as John Doe were released by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations department earlier this month in a plea for the public to help nab a man abusing a little girl. And they've caught him! John Doe has been arrested thanks to tips from the public!
Well ... and thanks to his own stupidity. The dude actually showed his face on an alleged child porn film! Thank goodness.
Good prevails! Evil has been extinguished!
Or one bit of evil, anyway.
The arrest follows a rather bizarre break in the child pornography case. Videos of John Doe (whose identity is still being withheld until his first appearance in federal court) and his alleged victim -- a girl who appears to be between 7 and 9 years old -- were actually found in Denmark. But Danish authorities noticed something odd: a Frito-Lay Rold Gold bag of thin pretzels. The bag of treats is sold only in the United States -- which prompted them to send the videos to ICE. ICE, in turn, released the photos and ... voila.
The alleged sicko is now in custody.
We've all seen enough episodes of Law & Order: SVU to know it doesn't always work out so neatly. In fact, most of us have seen enough episodes of the NBC drama (and others like it) to feel like we're in an unwinnable war. One site gets taken down, and another pops up in its place. One child porn producer is arrested, another steps in to ruin the lives of innocent children.
In some ways, it's true. According to a National Juvenile Online Victimization Study, 40 percent of arrested child pornography possessors had both sexually victimized children and were in possession of child pornography. In 2008 alone, Internet Watch Foundation found 1,536 individual child abuse domains online, more than half of which were housed here in the US.
For parents, it can sound hopeless.
But it's not.
Just look at the fate of John Doe. He screwed up royally. He let his face be seen on camera. He left clues to his whereabouts.
And the public stepped up when we were needed most. Someone told on him, and the good guys moved in.
The facts of this case may be hard to stomach, but make no mistake, this is a win, America. We did it. We got a bad guy off the streets.
Now let's move on to the next one.
Did you examine these photos when they came out to see if you knew John Doe? Were you expecting him to be captured so quickly?
Image via ICE