Child Pornography Cases Go Uninvestigated Due to Budget Cuts
Some child pornography viewers and purveyors are getting away with their crimes in Lane County as cases in county jurisdiction go uninvestigated.
Prior to July budget cuts, the Lane County Sheriff’s Office regularly investigated cases of delivery of child pornography. But when budget reductions went into effect, the cutting of a forensic analyst position, coupled with the loss of other contributing positions has rendered recent reports unchecked, and according to the Sheriff’s office, crimes will continue to occur due to lack of resources.
Springfield and Eugene police departments continue to investigate the cases in their jurisdictions, but they do not have undercover operations for child pornography like LCSO did.
Prior to July, one Lane County investigation uncovered more than 40,000 electronic images of child pornography. The offender in possession of these images was a registered sex offender in Lane County. The investigation and the forensic analysis found incriminating evidence, and the offender was sentenced to 10 years in prison for his crime.
In another case that was solved before budget cuts, a search warrant was served in an investigation that started as a child pornography case. While serving the warrant it was discovered that the suspect had also physically victimized a local youth, and lived in a prime location to groom other potential child victims. The case resulted in the offender being sent to state prison as well.
Detective Aaron Hoberg says that there are a large number of child pornography downloads in Lane County, enough to keep two full-time detectives busy. Prior to the budget cuts, he and other Lane County Sheriff’s staff chose the most egregious cases to pursue to keep this type of crime at bay.
At the time of budget reductions, there were more than 40 cases of delivery of child pornography that were left unchecked. These cases will likely not be investigated, and without investigation there is no prosecution or accountability. This is especially serious when you consider that the victims are children — sometimes local children.
Despite the inability to investigate these types of crimes, the Sheriff’s office urges the community to immediately report any distribution of child pornography or the use of children in pornography.
The Sheriff’s office is continually working toward a solution to the public safety funding issue.
This information was obtained from a Lane County Sheriff’s Office press release.
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