FRANKFORT – The 82nd Psalm is a plea for justice. Its calls on us to defend those who have no one else to protect them. Verse four encourages us to rescue those in need from the hands of those who would seek to harm them.
With the dangers facing our families in this modern world, we must find new and innovative ways to protect and find justice for those who have nobody else to protect them.
Every day there are dangerous influences and pressures that our children can be presented with, especially in the cyber world. In fact, more than 500,000 child predators are online on any given day looking for their next victim.
That victim could be my child or it could be yours.
Ensuring the safety and well-being of all Kentucky children is something that I and the dedicated employees of the Kentucky Attorney General’s Office strive for each and every day.
In the past, the Office of the Attorney General averaged removing 15 child sex offenders from Kentucky streets each year.
When I ran for attorney general, I pledged to work towards better protecting our children from abuse and sexual exploitation. And in the first ten months in my administration, my team has arrested and removed 43 online predators from the streets, nearly tripling entire year totals in the past.
These results are a direct outcome of the new approach my office is taking to expand our cyber crime investigations across the state and implement real solutions to prevent child sexual abuse.
In July, we began what we call Operation Shielded Child – the first concerted child predator sting effort in Kentucky – in the Paducah area. This initial sting produced two arrests over a two-day period.
Late last month, we expanded Operation Shielded Child to even more communities.
At the request of local law enforcement, the Cyber Crimes Unit conducted a 10-day operation in Allen, Boone, Franklin, Garrard, Hardin, Jessamine, Kenton, Scott and Shelby counties.
We recently announced the results of this multi-county operation, which allowed our investigators to work with the Kentucky State Police and local law enforcement in these counties to identify and arrest 10 additional child predators.
Operation Shielded Child is proving to be a very effective weapon in the fight to protect our children and we are proud of our efforts. But neither I nor my investigators are satisfied.
We will never be satisfied until we identify and remove every single child predator in the Commonwealth and I am committed ensuring every region, county and community is as safe as possible.
Protecting our children from increasingly technology-savvy and devious predators will take the implementation of new ideas and efforts like Operation Shielded Child and all of us working together.
Each and every person can help prevent online child sexual abuse by fulfilling their legal and moral responsibility to report any instances to my cyber crime office by calling 866-524-3672 or emailing DCIForce@ky.gov. Information may be shared anonymously.
Together we can send a strong message to those looking to take advantage of our children that no matter where you are, no matter how you try to hide we will find you and arrest you.
Defending those who have no one else to protect them and rescue those in need from the hands of those who would seek to harm them is and will remain a core mission of my office.
Andy Beshear is Kentucky’s Attorney General.