More than 2,300 suspected online child sex offenders arrested during operation 'Broken Heart'

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The Department of Justice announced Tuesday that more than 2,300 suspected online child sex offenders were arrested during a three-month, nationwide, operation conducted by Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task forces.

The task forces identified 195 offenders who either produced child pornography or committed child sexual abuse, and 383 children who suffered recent, ongoing, or historical sexual abuse or production of child pornography.

The 61 ICAC task forces, located in all 50 states and comprised of more than 4,500 federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies, led the coordinated operation known as "Broken Heart" during the months of March, April, and May 2018.

During the course of the operation, the task forces investigated more than 25,200 complaints of technology-facilitated crimes against children and delivered more than 3,700 presentations on Internet safety to over 390,000 youth and adults.

As part of Operation "Broken Heart," United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, Robert J. Higdon, Jr., announced that on May 16th, the federal grand jury in Raleigh indicted Andre Thorpe on seven counts involving child exploitation, including four counts of production of child pornography, two counts of transporting a minor interstate with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, and one count of possession of child pornography.

The alleged conduct involves years-long sexual abuse of a minor victim, and investigators have identified other alleged minor victim. If convicted, Thorpe faces no less than 15 years and up to life in prison.

This case was investigated by the Office of Homeland Security Investigation in Raleigh.
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