COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - Following a two-month operation, police are reporting nearly two dozen suspected online child sex offenders were arrested by the Colorado Springs Police Department.
The announcement of the arrests was made public on Tuesday. It was part of an operation led by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Colorado Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. During the operation, a total of 88 dangerous child sex predators were removed from Colorado streets, including 23 who were arrested by the Colorado Springs Police Department.
During the months of April and May authorities took part in "Operation Broken Heart."
Operation Broken Heart is a nationally coordinated effort that targets suspects who:
(1) produce, distribute, receive and possess child pornography;
(2) engage in online enticement of children for sexual purposes;
(3) engage in the sex trafficking of children; and
(4) travel across state lines or to foreign countries and sexually abuse children. The operation also focuses on education through presentations to youth and adults.
“Every year, we are proud to take part in this operation and believe it is necessary that we continually take proactive steps in protecting children,” says CSPD Chief Vince Niski. “Because of the hard work put in by all 90 law enforcement agencies over the last two months, the streets of Colorado are that much safer,” Niski says.
For more information about the Colorado Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, click here.
Colorado Springs police also say they reached more than 500 youth and adults through educational presentations during those two months.
The operation took place across the country and ended with about 1,700 arrests from all 50 states, according to the Department of Justice.
"The sexual abuse of children is repugnant, and it victimizes the most innocent and vulnerable of all," Attorney General William P. Barr said. "We must bring the full force of the law against sexual predators, and with the help of our Internet Crimes Against Children program, we will. Over the span of just two months, our ICAC task forces investigated more than 18,000 complaints of internet-related abuse and helped arrest 1,700 alleged abusers. I would like to thank our Office of Justice programs, all of the task force members, and especially the state and local partners who helped us achieve these important results. We are committed to bringing the defendants in these cases to justice and protecting every American child."
The Colorado Springs Police Department identified 11 of the 23 suspects on Friday:
• Brandon Price, 27
• Clarence Hassler, 60
• Dakota Fromm, 21
• Donald Cochran, 27
• Jonathan Bryant, 36
• Michael Rex, 64
• Jacob Cundiff, 33
• Kyle Aker, 62
• Michael Miller, 22
• William Swatsenbarg, 57
• Zachary Klopfenstein, 22