THE United States Homeland Security Investigation has commended the Department of Justice for its efforts that led to the arrest and prosecution of an American involved in child pornography and exploitation online.
In its letter to Justice Secretary Aguirre, US Homeland Security Investigation attaché Ransom Avilla thanked the DoJ for its cooperation and “tremendous assistance” in Bernhard case.
“This is a validation of our efforts to protect our children from the evils of exploitation and pornography,” Aguirre said.
Calvin Bernhardt, an American national, who was caught exploiting Filipino children in cyberspace, was convicted by a federal court of five counts of child pornography and child exploitation crimes. He is now facing up to 25 years of incarceration in U.S. prison.
“Our Filipino youth, has always been and will always be, the hope of our future. They are our future. The DOJ will support all efforts to protect them. Let this be a warning to preying pedophiles, we will come after you,” Aguirre added.
In can be recalled that in May last year, agents of the National Bureau of Investigation-Anti-Human Trafficking Division (NBI-AHTRAD) and the Department of Justice-Office of Cybercrime (DOJ-OOC) carried out an operation that resulted to the arrest of a woman allegedly pimping her 15-year-old daughter to Bernhardt. The operation stemmed from the report of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), a US-based non-profit organization which helps identify and rescue victims of child pornography and child sexual exploitation around the world, including the Philippines.
Based on the report received by the DoJ-OOC, Bernhardt, a resident of North Dakota persuaded Lalaine to produce and send explicit photos of herself via private messages. The sex offender, earlier arrested by the US authorities for child exploitation, was later on discovered to be sending money to the victim’s mother in exchange for her daughter’s photos.