Last year, companies that track use of the internet to provide online photos and videos of children being sexually abused found 45 million such items online — an amount double the previous year.
“Twenty years ago, the online images were a problem; 10 years ago, an epidemic,” reports The New York Times. “Now, the crisis is at a breaking point.”
Adds the newspaper n a report that appeared over the weekend:
Pictures of child sexual abuse have long been produced and shared to satisfy twisted adult obsessions. But it has never been like this: Technology companies reported a record 45 million online photos and videos of the abuse last year.
An investigation by The New York Times found an insatiable criminal underworld that had exploited the flawed and insufficient efforts to contain it. As with hate speech and terrorist propaganda, many tech companies failed to adequately police sexual abuse imagery on their platforms or failed to cooperate sufficiently with the authorities when they found it.
This is not just a problem that appears elsewhere. The manager of Floyd’s Farm Credit operation, and his son — an Iraq war veteran — went to prison for collecting and distributing images of child pornography.
Jack Edward Lewis, a self-declared “mountain man” who lived above Goose Creek Run, had enough child pornography on his computer drives to sent him to prison for 106 years.
Investigators found an assistant in the election board office in the county courthouse accessing child pornography images on an office computer. A tech expert cleaned the computer files and the volunteer assistant was dismissed.
Some of the child sexual abuse cases involve teenagers under 18. Two coaches of young girls in Floyd County High School’s softball and basketball programs entered pleas for sexual abuse of underage female athletes and had to register to be on the Virginia Sexual Offenders database handled by the State Police. Neither is allowed to be anywhere near a public school.
Other cases detail sexual actons against very young children, some just a few years old. A Floyd County grandfather went to prison for molesting his grandchild. A teenager admitted his molestation of his young sister.
The Virginia State Police Sex Offender Registry lists 37 predators living in Floyd County at this time. This does not include all convicted. Some now live in other counties, but all can be found on the public registry.
Not all of the registered offenders are men. A 24-year-old, unemployed Copper Hill woman was convicted of attempting sex with a child under age 15 in Alleghany County. A 48-year-old woman now living in Indian Valley succeeded in having sex with a child under 15 in Botetourt County 10 years ago.
In Floyd County Circuit Court on this first day of October — the beginning of a new court term — two motions before Judge Marc Long involve child pornography, with one case involving a county musician who is charged with producing child pornography because of photos he took of the underage girl who was also his sexual partner. He is also charged with contributing to her delinquency.
Sex involving adults and underage minors is not a new problem in Floyd. A classmate in my freshman class dropped out of school after getting pregnant by an uncle in 1962.
Sexual abuse exists all around us. So do convicted (and accused) sexual predators.