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Investigative Programs
Crimes Against Children
 


Two FBI Agents Recognized at National Missing Children's Day Ceremony

The May 23, 2002, National Missing Children's Day ceremony at the Department of Justice also marked the 20th anniversary of the Missing Children's Act. Fourteen law enforcement officers -- including two FBI Agents -- were recognized for their efforts in crimes against children cases. In addition, the head of the FBI's Criminal Investigative Division, Executive Assistant Director (EAD) Bruce Gebhardt spoke about the FBI's continued commitment to protecting our children.

Law Enforcement Officers Recognized

Fourteen individuals were awarded the 2002 Law Enforcement Award, including two FBI Special Agents -- Douglas Schreurs and Bruce Bennett.

This is a photograph of Pictured from left to right: Michael E. Sargeant, William D. Barron, Tony Cordova, and Douglas A. Schreurs This is a photograph of Pictured from left to right: U.S. Associate Attorney General Jay Stephens, Jeff R. Vortisch, Shanon Anderson, and Bruce Bennett.
Pictured from left to right: Michael E. Sargeant, William D. Barron, Tony Cordova, and Douglas A. Schreurs Pictured from left to right: U.S. Associate Attorney General Jay Stephens, Jeff R. Vortisch, Shanon Anderson, and Bruce Bennett.

SA Schreurs of the FBI's Grand Island, Nebraska, office, Officer Tony Cordova of the Kearney, Nebraska, Police Department, and Undersheriff Michael E. Sargeant and Sheriff William D. Barron, both of the Lake County Sheriff's Office in Polson, Montana, were given the Officer of the Year Award. They were recognized for the search and recovery of 17-year-old Anne Sluti.

SA Bruce Bennett of the FBI's Seattle, Washington, office, Detective Shanon Anderson of the Seattle Police Department, and Detective Jeff Vortisch of the Beaufort, South Carolina, Police Department were honored for their persistence and thorough investigative skills in capturing a renowned pedophile.

EAD Gebhardt Speaks

This is a photograph of EAD Bruce Gebhardt
EAD Bruce Gebhardt

EAD Gebhardt spoke of the FBI's Crimes Against Children Unit, which works closely with other federal, state, and local law enforcement partners, helps coordinate a unified law enforcement response when children are in harm's way. In addition, the FBI has Special Agents in each of the FBI's 56 Field Offices who are specifically devoted to handling and coordinating local investigations. Finally, the Innocent Images National Initiative uses undercover Agents and teams of law enforcement investigators to target pedophiles and child pornographers who prey on children over the Internet.

In his speech, EAD Gebhardt cited cases in which the FBI and its law enforcement partners have successfully removed predators from the streets and returned children to their families.

  • In March 2002, Operation Candyman exposed an international circle of predators and shut down their illicit web sites;
  • In the last nine months, two Top 10 Fugitives wanted for sexually exploited children - Michael Scott Bliss and Eric Franklin Rosser - were captured;
  • In January 2002, the FBI rescued a teenager who had been abducted from her home in Pennsylvania and held hostage in Virginia;
  • Last spring, the FBI recovered a fifteen-year-old girl who had been abducted by an older woman she met on the Internet. The girl was located and returned home within 24 hours. The woman and three male accomplices were arrested and found guilty.

The FBI's focus on reorganization will continue to include its efforts to protect children. EAD Gebhardt stated that, "our commitment to protecting children is as strong as ever. Saving lives, protecting the innocent, and hunting down those who prey upon them is the heart and soul of the FBI. And that will not change."

Kidnappings

Online Child Pornography

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Two FBI Agents Recognized at National Missing Children's Day Ceremony
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