News Release

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Media / For More Information Contact:
Lt. Shane Bates
Electronic Crime Branch
(502) 782-9769

KSP Charges Three Eastern Kentucky Men With Internet Related Crimes

Date of News Release: 12/21/2011

(FRANKFORT, Ky.)— During the week of December 12–16, the Kentucky State Police Electronic Crime Branch and Kentucky State Police Post 9 executed several search warrants in the Pikeville area involving illegal Internet activity. This action was the culmination of a three-month investigation into criminal activity involving the sexual exploitation of children. It involved the investigation of ten (10) individuals suspected of participating in the distribution of child pornography computer files. During the investigation, various evidentiary items used in the distribution of child pornography were located, and several thousand images and videos of child pornography were seized.

To date, three (3) arrests have been made for multiple counts of possession and distribution of child pornography. Roger Thacker II, 23, of Pikeville, Ky., and Michael Shepherd, 38, of West Van Lear, Ky., were charged with Distribution and Possession of Matter Portraying a Minor in a Sexual Performance. Clarence Thacker, 37, of Robinson Creek, Ky., was charged with Distribution and Possession of Matter Portraying a Minor in a Sexual Performance and Sexual Offender Registrant Prohibited from using Social Networking Website, Instant Messaging or Chat Room Accessible by Minors.

Clarence and Roger Thacker were booked into the Pike Co. Jail. Shepherd was booked into the Johnson Co. Jail. KSP anticipates several more arrests pending further investigations.

The Kentucky State Police is the lead agency for the state’s Internet Crime Against Children Task Force. This task force is made up of federal, state and local partners that work a variety of online child sexual exploitation case investigations every day. It was estimated in a 2006 study by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that approximately one in seven youth (10 to 17 years of age) received a sexual solicitation or approach over the Internet. Four percent received an aggressive sexual solicitation—a solicitor who asked to meet them somewhere, called them on the telephone or sent them offline mail, money or gifts. Thirty-four percent had unwanted exposure to sexual material—pictures of naked people or people having sex. Twenty-seven percent of the youth who encountered unwanted sexual material told a parent or guardian. If the encounter was defined as distressing – episodes that made them feel very or extremely upset or afraid – 42 percent told a parent or guardian.

With increased focus on families during the holiday season, the KSP Electronic Crime Branch urges parents to be aware of what their children are doing online. Don’t let a lack of knowledge result in children becoming victims of exploitation.

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