Federal review leads to quick rescue of exploited child
On Wednesday, May 7 we honored law enforcement from across the U.S. for their work to protect children. Check out all the case summaries on our blog.
On Nov. 1, 2012, ICE/HSI Cyber Crimes Center was alerted to images of a 4-year-old female child being sexually exploited. The team painstakingly reviewed the images for clues to identify the offender and, in doing so, discovered images in which tattoos on an adult male’s hand and leg were visible as well as images of a woman with star tattoos on her inner elbows.
Investigators submitted images of the tattoos to the South Carolina Department of Corrections for comparison against tattoos noted on inmate booking forms. In response, state corrections officials advised that, according to their records, Gerald Ennis Roberts, an inmate formerly incarcerated in the state, had the same tattoos.
Armed with a name, investigators were able to use social media to find his presence online. Through photos of his “friends,” they were able to match the tattoos of the unknown female with star tattoos on her elbows in the suspicious images with a woman online. During her interview with authorities, she was able to identify both the offender and the child victim.
On Nov. 7, 2012, merely six days from receiving the initial lead, state authorities and HSI were able to locate and recover the child victim. The following day, authorities apprehended Gerald Roberts in Myrtle Beach, S.C. and obtained a full confession. Roberts subsequently pled guilty to production and distribution of child pornography and is currently awaiting sentencing. He faces a sentence anywhere between 23 to 27 years.
Congratulate ICE for their work to protect kids.