High-tech tool catches online child predators in the act - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

High-tech tool catches online child predators in the act

BOCA RATON, Fla. -- When it comes to online child pornography you never know who’s sharing it or who’s collecting it. It could be a neighbor or even a coworker. There’s an organization in Boca Raton who knows exactly who it is.

The Child Rescue Coalition scans the internet around the clock to find exactly who is trading in child pornography.

“The fact is there are a number of individuals flying under the radar that our system is tracking,” says Child Rescue Coalition (CRC ) Vice President Colleen Lockwood.

Typically the CRC is not going after the sex offenders already found in statewide or nationwide registries.

“They live among us, they do not fit the stereo type of what you think of as a pedophile, they are typically well respected members of our community and we know them,” Lockwood detailed.

According to Dennis Nicewander, a prosecutor with the Office of the State Attorney in Broward County, they are able to uncover offenders who are flying below the radar, who have a dark secret. “I think we're catching people who would not otherwise be caught but for this system,” says Nicewander.

The information in the CRC database is made accessible at no cost to law enforcement agencies around the globe who use the data to obtain court orders, subpoenas and warrants.

“We look at it every day and it's a constant process of scanning who the best suspects are and which ones we want to go after,” said Nicewander.

And sometimes it’s the most trusted members of the community.

“We've investigated police officers, teachers, clergy, everybody,” says Nicewander. “Unfortunately with the proliferation of the internet and technology it's making this dark side of the world readily accessible to millions of people.”

In just the past five years the work of the CRC has resulted in over 5,000 arrests worldwide.

"It used to be a small group of hardcore people engaged in this, Nicewander said. “Now it’s this real wide constantly growing body of people who look to children as objects for their sexual gratification."

Copyright 2015 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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