(COLUMBUS, Ohio) -- Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine released information today regarding multiple search warrants served across the state as part of "Operation Download."
Agents with the Attorney General's Crimes Against Children (CAC) Initiative, which operates as a division of the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI), simultaneously served the search warrants this morning at homes in Hamden, Walbridge, and Mentor, Ohio.
Each location had been identified by CAC investigators as a site where child pornography was illegally possessed and downloaded. Although the criminal conduct is the same, the individual cases are not related.
"Downloading and sharing child pornography is not a victimless crime. The children in the photographs are victimized each time someone views an image," said Attorney General DeWine. "These predators need to know that we are aggressively coming after them."
One person was arrested, and charges are expected to be filed against additional suspects.
Attorney General DeWine announced the Crimes Against Children Initiative in late 2011. More than a dozen agents and staff experts focus specifically on assisting local law enforcement in investigating and prosecuting criminals who victimize children.
Since early 2012, those assigned to the CAC Initiative have assisted law enforcement in 54 counties on 170 cases including allegations of child pornography, rape, sexual assault, child abuse, human trafficking, and sex offender registry violations.
"It is important that we do everything we can to protect our kids," said DeWine. "Every child should be able to enjoy their youth without being targeted by predators."
Investigators with the Lake County Sheriff's Office, Mentor Police Department, New Richmond Police Department, Perrysburg Township Police Department, Vinton County Sheriff's Office, Vinton County Prosecutor's Office and FBI Child Exploitation Task Force assisted in serving the search warrants.
April is Child Abuse Prevention Month and Sexual Assault Awareness Month.