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The following true story describes accounts of child sexual and physical abuse from a case worked by the Innocent Lives Foundation.

This content is disturbing. Please be emotionally prepared before proceeding. We have changed names, locations, and other identifying information for the safety of the victims and the Innocent Lives Foundation team.

Every day we decide to place our trust in someone, whether it’s a hairdresser who cuts our hair just the way we like it, a rideshare driver who gets us to our destination safely, or the person we choose to look after our children when we cannot. What does it take to trust someone with our children? In late 2021 the Innocent Lives Foundation was approached by law enforcement to assist them with an active case. At least two subjects were under investigation for involvement in producing, distributing, and consuming child sexual abuse material (CSAM). Even more disturbing is that the victim was under five years of age, and it appeared that the mother might have been involved. Although law enforcement had the two subjects’ names and warrants issued, the subjects were proving very difficult to find. The objective of the Innocent Lives Foundation was to locate the subjects and provide additional insight regarding the apparent involvement of all parties. The first subject, who we will refer to as “John,” was located in a short period of time by the ILF Predator Identification Team (PIT) using Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) methods and specialized software provided by one of our Impact Sponsors. The mother, who we will refer to as “Mary,” was much more challenging to locate and had numerous social media accounts. Four PIT members worked tirelessly until they had their first breakthrough. As the PIT dug deeper into “Mary’s” social media presence, they reviewed any account that appeared to have a connection to her. Finally, they discovered a profile where she shared videos of herself unboxing packages she had received. One of the boxes’ shipping labels was in view; unfortunately, the quality of the image was extremely poor. Another PIT member had the skill set to enhance the photo enough to make the label legible, revealing a match to an unverified address the PIT already had discovered. Law enforcement was notified, and “Mary” was successfully located. With reports completed and sent to law enforcement, the ILF portion of the case was complete.

The Rest of the Story

Typically the ILF does not hear back from law enforcement after a case has been accepted; however, this time was different. “John” is a middle-aged man who was a consumer and distributor of the CSAM. Currently, “John” faces sentencing of over 50 years in prison for his involvement in this case and others. This sentencing effectively ends “John’s” career as a predator, and he will never be able to victimize another child again. We are happy to report that despite earlier indications, the child’s mother “Mary” had no involvement in the abuse of her child –she was unaware this content had been made and distributed. “Mary” worked with law enforcement and successfully identified the abuser of her daughter and the producer of the CSAM, who we will call “Bill.” “Bill” was abusing, recording, and distributing the CSAM of “Mary’s” daughter. The man was a close friend whom she often trusted with her child. “Bill” even ran a business that granted him easy access to other children. Because of “Bill’s” abuse of the children under his care, we do know that he is in custody now and awaiting judgment from the judicial system.

Why Share This Story? 

This story underscores many lessons worthy of our consideration.

Even though the investigation began with “John,” pulling on this thread revealed “Bill’s” involvement in this story. This is not unusual; often, predators are part of a larger cell, and abuse of this type is rarely limited to one child. The impact of submitting just one more case can be exponential and can protect the innocence of many children.

One of our guiding principles is to conduct our casework in a way that is above reproach. When a child’s future is at stake, it is imperative that we be conscious of our biases and how they could influence our research and judgment. Given that “Mary,” the mother, appeared to be hiding from her warrant and that 93% of abuse occurs among friends and family, it could have been reasonable to assume that she was involved in her daughter’s abuse. We must take our time and pay attention to the evidence because things are not always as they appear.

Unfortunately, the world our children grow up in is plagued by predators and other unhealthy individuals. “Mary” had every reason to believe her child was safe in the care of “Bill.” Not only was he a close family friend, but his business and professional credentials gave her further reason for trust. Once we become aware of this issue, it may seem overwhelming but do not give up hope, and do not stop fighting for our children.


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