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May-26-2009 22:09printcomments

Oregon's AG Announces $655,000 Grant to Fight Internet Sex Predators

The federal stimulus grant will save funding for the Department of Justice’s Internet Crimes Against Child unit.

Internet laptop

(SALEM, Ore.) - Attorney General John Kroger announced today that the federal government has awarded a $655,000 Recovery Act grant to the Oregon Department of Justice to fight online predators.

“This grant will help us protect children from exploitation,” said Attorney General Kroger. “We will use this money to investigate, prosecute and convict sexual predators in Oregon.”

The Oregon Department of Justice's Internet Crimes Against Children unit (ICAC) investigates and prosecutes predators who use the internet to target children for sexual exploitation.

The unit works with district attorneys, law enforcement agencies and regional task forces that investigate online predators. Budget cuts threatened to end the program in Oregon, but Attorney General Kroger made restoring funding a top public safety priority.

Since 2005, 108 internet predators who targeted Oregon children have been convicted as a result of ICAC investigations.

Notable cases include:

-- Peter James Zwieg of Springfield pleaded guilty on October 8, 2008, to 2 counts of Encouraging Child Sexual Abuse I and 2 counts Sexual Abuse I. He received a 165-month prison sentence.

-- Ricky L. McMahon of McMinnville pleaded guilty on November 16, 2007, to 4 counts of Encouraging Child Sexual Abuse I. He received a 117-month prison sentence.

ICAC is the only program in Oregon that is equipped with the necessary resources to catch sex predators throughout the state. The ICAC unit has worked in cooperation with more than 160 law enforcement agencies around Oregon.

The $655,000 grant is part of a larger effort by Attorney General Kroger and a coalition of Oregon prosecutors, sheriffs, police chiefs and victims’ advocates to win as many federal stimulus grants for Oregon law enforcement as possible.

Earlier this year, Kroger joined with law enforcement from around the state to apply for tens of millions of dollars in federal stimulus money to bolster public safety and avoid layoffs.

Kroger then traveled to Washington, D.C., to personally lobby on behalf of Oregon’s effort.

If successful, this ongoing effort will help maintain sheriffs, police chiefs and district attorneys to keep officers on the street and prosecutors in Oregon courtrooms.

Assistant Attorney General Harry Wilson is coordinating law enforcement grants for the Department of Justice and its law enforcement partners.

Attorney General John Kroger leads the Oregon Department of Justice. The Department's mission is to fight crime and fraud, protect the environment, improve child welfare, and defend the rights of all Oregonians.

Source: Oregon Attorney General

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