U.S. Attorney Joseph H. Hogsett announced Wednesday morning more significant results in his office’s Project Safe Childhood initiative, which aims to reduce sexual exploitation of children through innovative investigative techniques and aggressive prosecution.
Specifically, Hogsett announced that Randall Bruce Allen, 46, of Greensburg, has been charged by indictment with possessing child pornography.
“Protecting Hoosier children remains one of the highest priorities of my office, no matter what the threat,” said Hogsett. “Through the tireless work of our nationally-recognized Project Safe Childhood team, I will use every available resource to keep these internet offenders away from our children and hold them accountable.”
According to a federal indictment returned by a grand jury Wednesday afternoon, Allen was allegedly found by law enforcement on Nov. 27, 2012 to be in possession of a computer hard drive containing hundreds of files depicting minor children engaged in sexually explicit acts. A full forensic examination will be undertaken to determine the extent of the materials contained on those devices, and Hogsett noted that federal law enforcement will seek to seize all electronic devices involved in the activity.
Hogsett noted that these were the latest prosecutions launched by the Project Safe Childhood team. Throughout the last two years, the Indiana-based operation has worked with federal, state and local law enforcement to prosecute not just defendants located in Indiana, but also defendants from across the country and around the world.
Hogsett specifically cited the recently concluded “Operation Bulldog,” which began with a search warrant in Bloomington and eventually involved dozens of defendants on multiple continents.
All told, more than two dozen children were rescued as a result of Operation Bulldog, and Hogsett said investigators in the United States and abroad are still actively working to identify additional defendants and victims.
Those cases were the result of investigations by Homeland Security Investigations and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with local assistance from the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, Indiana State Police, Kokomo Police Department, Carmel Police Department, Henry County Sheriff’s Office, Fishers Police Department and the Hamilton County Metropolitan Crimes Against Children Task Force.
According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven D. DeBrota, who is prosecuting the case for the government, Allen is facing up to 10 years in federal prison and fines of up to $250,000 if he is found guilty.
He also faces lifetime supervised release at the end of his prison term and possible restrictions related to a status as a sexual offender.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice.
Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims.
For more information about Project Safe Childhood, visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
— Daily News