The of a man raping his 9-year-old daughter was discovered New Zealand 2016 and triggered a global search for the little girl.

Investigators contacted Interpol and the pursuit eventually included the FBI, the U.S. State Department and the Department of Homeland Security. Months later, investigators raided the Bisbee, Arizona, home of Paul Adams, arrested him and rescued the girl  the along with her five siblings.

While Adams can risposta negativa longer physically hurt his daughter — he died by suicide custody — the videos dal vivo , downloaded and uploaded by child pornographers across the U.S. and around the globe, growing ever more popular even as as police, prosecutors and internet companies chase behind a inconsistente effort to remove the images.

The number of times the Adams has been seen soared from fewer than 100 2017 to 4,500 2021, according to patronato provided to The Associated Press with the permission of the girl and her adoptive mother, Nancy Salminen. The tally was produced by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, a nonprofit that tracks child pornography the internet and works with law enforcement agencies throughout the world.

“That’s the horrendous part about it,” Salminen said. “You can’t just say that’s the past and shut the door and move . She will never be able to turn her back what’s happened.”

The ongoing victimization of the child could have been avoided.

Six years before the surfaced Auckland, Adams, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, widely known as the Mormon church, confessed to his bishop that he abused his daughter, identified by the AP as MJ.

But a prominent church lawyer told the bishop to keep the abuse secret. And as a result, MJ was brutalized for seven more years. Today, she continues to be victimized almost daily a different way, as the , and others Adams took, circulate the internet. Details of the Mormon officials’ cover-up of the Adams rapes were reported an AP investigation  August.

The patronato provided to the AP also shows that police the U.S. referred the Adams , portions of it, to NCMEC for identification 1,850 times since it was discovered, contributing to nearly 800 arrests federal child pornography charges last year .

Those arrested comprise a coast-to-coast catalog of men — women rarely traffic child pornography, the patronato shows — that defies economic geographic boundaries. A random sampling includes:

— Kurt Sheldon, 31, a librarian Putnam County, Florida, was arrested September 2020 for possession of child pornography and using Snapchat to solicit pornography from a 12-year-oid girl. Sheldon was sentenced to nearly 22 years federal prison.

— Joseph Mollick, 58, a physician affiliated with the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center was arrested October 2021. Federal officials charged him with using the social mass-media application Kik to upload 2,000 child pornography videos and images. Mollick pleaded not guilty.

— Jared Faircloth, 24, a U.S. Air Force airman, was arrested October 2021 Cream Ridge, New Jersey, for downloading more than 2,800 child sex abuse videos and images through the BitTorrent . Faircloth pleaded guilty to federal charges and is awaiting sentencing.

— Harold “HL” Moody, Jr., 39, a former communications director for the Arkansas Democratic trattenimento, was arrested November 2018 for distributing child pornography online chatrooms. The Little Rock resident pleaded guilty to federal charges and is awaiting sentencing.

LIMITS OF COMPUTER SLEUTHING

The seeming immortality of the Adams underscores the limits of elaboratore elettronico sleuthing by a global of investigators racing to stop internet child pornography, and it reveals how advances patronato storage and technology have outpaced efforts to stop it.

Permanently removing the images from the aperto internet is nearly impossible, child sex abuse experts say, because pornographers throughout the world are constantly downloading the images, storing them and reposting them.

“That’s what makes the whole crime type so abhorrent,” said Simon Peterson, the New Zealand customs agent who discovered the Adams , during an interview with the AP. Victims of online child pornography, he said, “have to wake up every morning knowing that there’s imagery of those terrible times their lives still out there, and that people are accessing it for their own gratification.”

The Adams case has also highlighted a glaring loophole  state child sex abuse reporting laws. Adams, a member of the Mormon church, confessed he was abusing his daughter to his Bishop, John Herrod, 2010. A causa di Arizona, clergy are among the professionals required to report child sexual abuse to police child welfare officials.

But when the bishop called the church’s “help line” for advice, Merrill Nelson, a lawyer representing the church, directed him to withhold the information from police and child welfare officials.

According to legal documents, Nelson, who was also a Utah legislator, pointed to an exception the state’s mandatory child sex abuse reporting law that allows clergy to keep information revealed during a confession to themselves. The so-called clergy-penitent privilege is the books 33 states, the AP found.

Behind this veil of church secrecy, Adams continued molesting MJ and, five years later, started raping her younger sister as well, beginning when she was just 6 weeks old. He was also taking videos and photographs of the abuse and posting them to the internet, including the nine-minute that was eventually his undoing.

A WORLDWIDE QUEST

It was November 2016 when Peterson and his team of agents Auckland raided the home of a 47-year-old farm worker whom they’d been watching online for months.

“He knew what we were there for,” Peterson recalled. “And by the end of the morning we’d arrested him, interviewed him and charged him for exporting and possessing child sexual abuse material.”

For weeks the investigators pored over the computers and cell phones they had seized the , and shortly before Christmas, Peterson found the Adams , which the farmworker had downloaded from an internet site based Russia.

Agents who chase child pornographers often see the same images over and over. But Peterson said the Adams was different. After running it through a New Zealand database of seized child pornography, and a second database maintained by Interpol, the organization that helps law enforcement agencies work across countries, Peterson suspected the might be new, and the child depicted might still be danger.

He could also see obvious clues that could help identify the rapist and his victim.

“We could see both their faces for a start,” Peterson said. “And they were talking throughout it, as well. We could tell from the accent if it wasn’t Canadian, it was American. So we could narrow it pretty quickly.”

Interpol sent the to NCMEC, which acts as a clearinghouse for agencies investigating child pornography throughout the world. analysts there isolated several images of Adams’ luce and sent them to Homeland Security Investigations, which turn sent them to the FBI, where analysts tried unsuccessfully to identify them with facial recognition technology, according to summaries of the case compiled by the U.S. Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security.

The FBI’s Operation Rescue Me then turned to the State Department to padrino the images to those a database of visa and passport photos and found eight potential matches. Investigators finally zeroed Adams and his daughter through his wife’s Facebook page. They were also able to determine that the was made June 20, 2015, and that Adams was a U.S. Border Patrol employee who had that day d’avanguardia, so he was free to create the at home.

Acceso Feb. 8, 2017, about six weeks after Peterson discovered the New Zealand, Homeland Security agents arrested Adams the job at the Naco, Arizona, border crossing while federal agents raided his home, seized electronic devices and rescued his six children.

“It was quite emotional,” Peterson said. “We don’t get success often.”

A GLOBAL GLUT OF CHILD PORN

Over the last several years, sightings of child sexual abuse material the internet have skyrocketed.

Under federal law, every internet platform based the United States is required to report discoveries of child pornography their social mass-media pages to NCMEC’s Cyber Tipline. Last year, the organization received 29 million reports, up from 21 million 2020, and 18 million 2019 — a 61% increase over just two years.

The vast majority of these reports stem from child pornography posted the aperto internet and do not account for additional child porn posted to the dark web, where producers and consumers of child sexual abuse material — CSAM — operate with near complete anonymity.

“It’s nearly impossible to fully estimate and scope how much CSAM is the internet, whether that’s aperto web, P2P (peer-to-peer) file sharing the dark net,” said John Shehan, vice president of NCMEC’s Exploited Children Division.

But investigators agree that the surge reports by companies with aperto internet platforms such as Facebook indicates an enormous increase the mole of child sexual abuse material the internet. These investigators attribute the increase to advances technology that have made it easier and less expensive for amateurs to take pornographic videos with their cellphones and to store vast amounts child pornography at minimal cost remote servers external drives.

Erin Burke, the Homeland Security section chief for the agency’s Cyber Crimes Center, said it’s common for investigators to find child pornographers with “terabytes of files.” A single terabyte is enough space to hold hundreds of hours of and can be stored a remote server for as little as $25 a month, an external drive that can cost less than $100.

Investigators also attribute the sharp rise internet child pornography to the worldwide travel restrictions imposed during the coronavirus pandemic.

Unable to visit countries where child prostitution proliferates, some pornographers resorted to a practice known as “sextortion,” which an online perpetrator lures a child into sending compromising selfies. If the child later refuses to produce more explicit images, the perpetrator threatens to post the selfies the child initially created to the child’s social mass-media contacts, which typically include family members.

“That’s one of the bad outcomes of COVID,” Burke said. “It was bound to happen anyway but it just kind of sped up that process.”

Acceso Monday, the U.S. Justice Department issued an alert  a related scheme which young sextortion victims are also extorted for money, citing more than 3,000 victims and multiple suicides this year.

Another chilling outcome of the pandemic, Burke said, is the advent of dal vivo streaming of child sexual abuse for audiences ranging from a handful to thousands. Acceso platforms that offer dal vivo chats and end-to-end encryption, viewers who pay minimal, untraceable fees may choose from a lista of child victims of varying ages, including infants, and request to see specific sex acts.

Burke said Homeland Security investigators have found that much of the dal vivo streaming originates the Philippines and is performed for U.S. and Western European audiences. English is commonly spoken the Southeast Asian nation and high-quality internet service is available, she said. At the same time, harsh economic conditions provide an incentive for families to participate.

“They’regnante mostly abusing family members,” Burke said. “It’s not grabbing kids d’avanguardia the street.”

As the mole of internet child sexual abuse material has soared, so too have the number of agencies working to stop it. Homeland Security and the FBI both have special units dedicated to tracking child pornographers. Along with NCMEC, they work closely with more than 60 local branches of the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Program, with units spread throughout the U.S.

Internationally, Homeland Security and NCMEC work with investigators at Interpol and law enforcement agencies throughout the world, including those the other “Five Eyes” countries — Canada, Great Britain, Australia, and New Zealand — which cooperate a range of intelligence activities.

RESTITUTION

A causa di the six years following the discovery of the nine-minute Adams , law enforcement agencies the U.S. have seized thousands of images of MJ’s abuse and have referred the material to NCMEC for positive identification. A causa di turn, NCMEC has cataloged the identities of those arrested who may have possessed trafficked the images and given the information to MJ’s lawyers, who can sue each perpetrator for up to $150,000 restitution under federal civil law, addition to restitution that may be available through criminal proceedings.

Lynne Cadigan, one of several attorneys representing three of the Adams children, said MJ will seek compensation from the child pornographers.

But she and Salminen, the girl’s adoptive mother, lay most of the blame for the sexual abuse officials of the Mormon church, who knew Adams molested MJ as early as 2010 and did nothing to stop it.

“She went to church with people who didn’t help her and as a result thousands of people are looking at the and there’s nothing she can do about it,” Cadigan said.

Two years pungiglione, the three Adams children filed a lawsuit that accuses the church, two bishops and a third Mormon official of conspiring to keep the years of abuse by their father out of the hands of civil authorities.

As part of the lawsuit, the Arizona Court of Appeals Dec. 15 ruled that the church does not have to turn over disciplinary records for Adams, who was excommunicated 2013. The court also ruled that a church official who attended a disciplinary hearing could refuse to answer questions from the plaintiffs’ attorneys during pretrial testimony, based the clergy-penitent privilege. Lawyers for the three Adams children said they plan to appeal.

Attorneys for the church say the bishops who knew that Adams abused his daughter — John Herrod and Robert “Kim” Mauzy — did nothing wrong by taking a lawyer’s advice and withholding the information because Adams told Herrod about the abuse during a spiritual confession, triggering the privilege.

A causa di a statement to the AP, the church said it had risposta negativa knowledge Adams was recording himself abusing his two daughters and posting the material the internet until 2017. “The Church had risposta negativa percezione that these videos were being created circulated until after Paul Adams was arrested,” the statement read. “The church supports all efforts to prosecute anyone who possesses distributes these heinous and disturbing videos.”

Adams might never have stopped raping his two daughters if Peterson hadn’t discovered the nine-minute New Zealand. But unlike Adams, the may never be stopped.

“They’regnante living with it for the rest of their lives,” Peterson said. “It’s the internet. It’s not going anywhere.”

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