Maine group launches new effort to rescue child pornography victims

By Abigail Curtis, BDN Staff
Posted March 16, 2014, at 5:58 a.m.

LINCOLNVILLE, Maine — Lt. Glenn Lang of the Maine State Police Computer Crimes Unit said he will never forget what it was like to help rescue a little girl in Georgia who had been sexually abused for years by a man whose attacks were becoming increasingly violent.

In 2008, determined Maine investigators pored over clues in some of the hard-core child pornography videos made of the assaults on the girl, including sheets that were traced to a hotel room in Carrollton, Ga. Those clues helped the Maine team lead the FBI to a man named James Bartholomew “Bart” Huskey, who pleaded guilty to orchestrating what prosecutors called one of the most popular child porn series in the world. He’s now serving a 70-year sentence for his crimes.

“Nothing compares to saving a child like this,” Lang said Thursday. “You will never experience anything like it in your entire life.”

The lieutenant said that funding cuts have meant that the Maine investigators are no longer able to spend much time trying to solve out-of-state crimes, but he’s haunted by the other kids who continue to be victimized by sexual abusers. That’s why Lang has started a nonprofit called The Child Victim Identification and Rescue Network, with the intention of starting to identify kids like the little girl in Georgia again.

“This is too important to let this go by the wayside,” he said.

After completing some initial fundraising, Lang’s idea is to partner with a law enforcement agency in Maine. Investigators will identify the photos or videos they’d like Lang’s group to work with, and then redact the children or other contraband information from the images. Then, civilian volunteers could step up and try to track down other objects seen in the video with the goal of rescuing the children and bringing the abusers to justice. Things like drapes, bedspreads and boat landings can seem generic and impossible to locate, but that’s not so, Lang said.

“That’s how we found all these kids. It wasn’t by looking at the contraband. We looked at the surrounding data,” he said.

Lang said that once his organization is up and running, he hopes to partner with other nonprofit groups, such as the Wounded Warrior Project, to add more trained eyeballs to the photos.

“Some of those guys have time on their hands and a lot of expertise,” Lang said. “That’s how things usually get solved.”

The first planned fundraiser should be a doozy, he said, adding that it’s the first of its kind that he knows of. That would be the Ultimate Mammal Games, which includes both physical and mental components and is for all ages. The event starts at 9 a.m. June 28 at the Lincolnville Central School, and should provide lots of opportunities for children, teens and adults to challenge each other at basketball, spelling, tricycle races, geography, Angry Birds, trivia, sprints and more.

The event will cost $20 for all participants, and all proceeds will be used to benefit the new nonprofit. For more information, visit the website www.ultimatemammal.com. For more information about the new nonprofit to help identify child victims, go to www.cvirn.org.

To reach a sexual assault advocate, call the Statewide Sexual Assault Crisis and Support Line at 800-871-7741, TTY 888-458-5599. This free and confidential 24-hour service is accessible from anywhere in Maine. Calls are automatically routed to the closest sexual violence service provider.

http://bangordailynews.com/2014/03/16/news/state/maine-group-launches-new-effort-to-rescue-child-pornography-victims/ printed on September 19, 2014