Washington, DC - The Department of Justice today recognized Detective Lorraine Szczepanik of the Broward County Sheriff’s Office, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for her investigation and subsequent arrest of three local child pornographers and the identification of a fourth suspect. Three were prosecuted, pleading guilty to possession of child pornography and receiving prison sentences. A case is pending against the fourth suspect.
Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General Ed O’Callaghan, Office of Justice Programs Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Matt Dummermuth, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Administrator Caren Harp presented the Attorney General’s Special Commendation to Szczepanik during the Department’s National Missing Children’s Day ceremony. The special commendation recognizes Internet Crimes Against Children task forces, affiliate agencies, or an individual assigned to either for making significant investigative or program contributions.
“Detective Szczepanik’s thoroughness in her investigation helped bring not one, but at least three perpetrators of internet-based crimes against children to justice,” said Administrator Care Harp. “The Department of Justice applauds her efforts and stands with the South Florida Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force as we continue to improve public safety for America’s children.”
Szczepanik’s investigation led her to the first suspect after two separate cyber tips reported child pornography use on Google and Tumblr. The suspect admitted his guilt in downloading and viewing child pornography. A search of his digital devices, along with a partial forensic examination, revealed thousands of pornographic images and videos of infants and toddlers, as well as online conversations that identified the three other pornographers.
The Department also recognized 16 other law enforcement officers for their investigations of child predators who sexually assaulted children, or created or viewed child pornography, as well as two firefighters who found a lost six-year-old boy. Harp also recognized Madison Dozier, a fifth grader at Reiley Elementary School in Alexandria, Kentucky, as the 20th winner of the National Missing Children’s Day poster contest.