Photo e-mailed from Mass. man led to vast global child pornography network
By Jenifer B. McKim Globe Staff July 29, 2012
As soon as they saw the terrified boy’s photo three years ago, federal agents Peter Manning and Gregory Squire had the same thought: we have to save him. The blue-eyed child, about 18 months old, was naked from the waist down and clutching a stuffed rabbit for comfort. There was no doubt he had been sexually abused. But that doesn’t begin to describe his suffering.....
Assigned to the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations office in Boston, their job is to track down child pornographers and victims. Over the years, they’ve become painfully familiar with some of the hundreds of thousands of child pornography pictures and videos online. Many depict almost unimaginably grotesque attacks on infants and toddlers and are traded like baseball cards by men using obscure Internet outposts to revel in their depravity.
But that single image of the distraught boy with the toy bunny became a crucial piece of evidence for Manning and Squire. It had been e-mailed to them by a Milford man who thought he was sharing it with fellow child-pornography voyeurs. His miscalculation sparked an investigation that would spread around the world, thus far leading to 42 arrests and the discovery of 140 children who were violated. The youngest was 19 days old.
Robert Diduca, who sent the first photo — which he labeled “cookie” in a reference to the boy — eventually pleaded guilty to the production, distribution, and possession of child pornography. In June, the 48-year-old father of three was sentenced in US District Court in Worcester to 18 years in prison....
After Diduca’s arrest in November 2010, Manning and Squire mined the trove of 27,000 images he’d stored on laptops, flash drives, and cellphones in his four-bedroom Colonial home and in the Sheraton hotel office in Framingham where he worked. The evidence linked him to other offenders and victims in several European countries, Mexico, Canada, and the United States. Within a few weeks, the agents had helped to uncover a massive child abuse case in the Netherlands....
Hiding behind a normal life
Robert Diduca didn’t have a criminal record. He appeared to be a decent father and faithful husband to his wife of some 25 years, and he held a job as a hotel manager. But beneath the veneer of normalcy, court records show, he sought, catalogued, and exchanged photos of sexually exploited children, fantasizing about rape and egging on predators to do more harm.
Diduca declined repeated requests for an interview....Diduca faced up to 60 years in prison but received a lesser sentence after he cooperated with prosecutors and pleaded guilty....
Like Diduca, many child-pornography viewers collect tens of thousands of images, some of which they share through e-mail chats or members-only online bulletin boards. Websites often feature sections catering to fetishes, including “super hardcore” and “homemade posts only.”....
A 2008 study by Michael Bourke, who is now chief psychologist for the US Marshals Service, found 85 percent of men arrested for possession of child pornography had also sexually exploited a child.
....Within hours, police descended on the Amsterdam home of 27-year-old Robert Mikelsons, a Latvian-born daycare provider. Mikelsons had baby-sat the boy several times — in his house and at a respected child care center favored by professional families.
By the time police arrived, Mikelsons — aware of the broadcast — had already deleted many images from his computer, prosecutors said. But there were far too many to wipe clean. He was arrested on the spot and confessed to molesting the boy. During the days of interrogation that followed, Mikelsons detailed attacks on 87 children, most under 2½ years old. He preferred to prey on those too young to talk....
Even though he confessed, Mikelsons still had to be convicted in court and sentenced by a three-judge panel. The formal charges were staggering. He stood accused of attacking 67 children — 52 boys and 15 girls — between 2007 and 2010. Many were ravaged multiple times.
Dale Griffis – West Memphis Three Case Information
This information is being posted with the permission of its author, Dale Griffis:
This document is to provide accurate information about my professional background and educational credentials as these have been inaccurately referenced on the Internet and in at least one documentary film in relation to the Memphis Three Case.
From 1960 to 1986, I worked in the Tiffin Ohio Police Department, I began as a Patrolman and over the course of my 26-year career, became Captain in Charge of Operations and a State Certified School Commander.
During these years, I attended over forty service school and seminars. This included three courses on intelligence work, including a three-week course as a unit commander of an intelligence unit. I was chosen to attend the Federal Alcohol, tobacco and Firearms Academy in Washington D.C. and graduated with honors. I graduated from Terra Community College with an Associates Degree in Police Science. I graduated Cum Laude from Heidelberg College in 1976 with a Bachelors degree in psychology.
I began my graduate education at Columbia Pacific University (CPU) in 1980 and graduated in January of 1984 with a Ph.D. At the Masters level, I concentrated on an independent study project (ISP) on intelligence graphics and advanced investigation charting for small agencies. My Masters ISP took a year to finish and I graduated upon completion of my approximately 90-page thesis. CPU then granted me entry into their doctoral program.
Copies of Documents in regard to Columbia Pacific University
....Approximately a year prior to the murders of three children by convicted Damien Echols, Jessie Misskelley Jr. and Jason Baldwin, I was given data about a suspicious and criminal activity by some local youths in the West Memphis area. I provided to a West Memphis detective investigating these activities some indicators of possible problems and suggestions for thwarting the criminal activity. The detective’s concerns and my suggestions were not implemented by local authorities. The murders took place and I read about it in the media
....I have worked now with close to 2000 cases of cult and occult activity and am now retired, I still carry concern for the three eight-year-old boys who were savagely beaten and killed. I had told investigators and detectives more than a year before the arrest of the Memphis Three that children and animals would be sacrificed based on indicators sent to me of activity in the West Memphis area. I was sadly correct in my opinion. It is true still that when a person sees or hears something so bizarre as a ritually abusive sacrificial cult or occult group that it is easier to go after the messenger than to listen to the message.