May 26, 2009

RI Receives $450K to Protect Children from Online Predators

WASHINGTON, DC – Rhode Island’s Congressional Delegation announced today that Rhode Island has received $452,439 through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act) for Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) program initiatives, administered by the Department’s Office of Justice Programs (OJP). The Rhode Island State Police will receive the funds as the lead task force agency.

“This funding will ensure Rhode Island’s law enforcement officers have the resources they need to protect our children from online predators. Today, with more young people sharing personal information on social networking sites like Facebook, it is important to protect children from being targeted and victimized in cyberspace. This federal funding will advance efforts by law enforcement to prevent, investigate, and prosecute predators who use the web to exploit children,” said the Congressional Delegation in a joint statement.

“This grant award will significantly benefit the State of Rhode Island and the Rhode Island State Police primarily by funding new positions in our Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. The Task Force provides critical administrative and computer forensic support to combat the online exploitation of our children,” stated Colonel Brendan P.
Doherty, Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police.
Earlier this month the Rhode Island Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (RIICAC) participated in a joint initiative with the Attorney General’s office and local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies to combat the on-line trading of child pornography. The operation resulted in the arrests of 11 individuals in several communities throughout the state, including Coventry, Cranston, Exeter, Glocester, Newport, Providence, Wakefield, Warwick, and Woonsocket.

The ICAC program supports a national network of 59 coordinated task forces, representing more than 2,000 federal, state, and local law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies engaged in proactive investigations, forensic examinations, and criminal prosecutions. During the past two years, the ICAC task forces have successfully conducted more than 24,371 forensic examinations; identified nearly 1,439 children who were victims of some form of abuse or neglect; and arrested 5,450 individuals. Of the total arrests, 2,073 resulted in the defendant accepting a plea agreement.

The Recovery Act was supported by Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and Representatives Patrick Kennedy and Jim Langevin and signed into law by President Obama on February 17, 2009. The bill includes more than $4 billion to assist state and local law enforcement agencies nationwide in preventing crime and improving the criminal justice system, with $50 million specifically appropriated for ICAC initiatives. Overall, OJP will administer more than $2.7 billion in assistance for the criminal justice community, which will support the creation of jobs and much needed resources for states and local communities. Visit http://www.ojp.gov/recovery for more information about these and the other OJP grants available through the Recovery Act.

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