Vicksburg pair indicted on child abuse, porn charges
GRAND RAPIDS, MI – A couple whose home was raided by the FBI last week in Vicksburg are accused of sexually abusing two children and creating child porn.
Virgil Chandler Knowles III and Samantha Jean Batts have each been charged with one count of sexual exploitation of a child. Knowles has also been charged with one count of distribution of child pornography.
Batts was in federal court Tuesday. Knowles’ hearing was rescheduled.
The charges stem from a complaint filed in federal court that alleged 47-year-old Knowles and 35-year-old Batts sexually abused two family members, neither older than 10.
Knowles used to be a custodian and maintenance employee at Vicksburg Community Schools, but had not worked there since 2018, a release from the district said.
Undercover FBI agents discovered Knowles in a private online chat room, where he admitted he abused the children. He also told undercover agents that Batts said she wanted to get “something” to make one of the victims sleep, the complaint says. It says Knowles shared several explicit photos with the agent, some featuring Batts.
FBI was able to locate the couple using Snapchat data and geolocation. Agents raided two homes in Vicksburg on Thursday, leading to the arrests of Knowles and Batts.
Sexual Predator Sweep In Florida Results In 56 Arrests In ‘Operation Bad Apple’
OSCEOLA COUNTY, FL – The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office announced Monday that dozens of arrests have been made in “Operation Bad Apple.”
One such recent victory was won in Florida, where the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office worked with U.S. Marshals in “Operation Bad Apple” to round up and lock up a massive number of sexual predators, arresting 56 in the sweep.
The Sheriff’s Office said in a press release, “The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office in conjunction with the United States Marshals conducted Operation Bad Apple, which took place from March 28, 2022 through June 10, 2022. The operation had a primary focus, but was not limited to; sexual offenders and sexual predators who have prior state or federal convictions for productions, transmission, and/or possession of child pornography/sexual performance of a child; transmission of harmful material to a minor; or video voyeurism.”
The press release concluded, “Operation Bad Apple resulted in 56 arrests of sexual offenders and predators in reference to violations of their statutory sex offense restrictions and or new law violations. All arrestees were booked and transported to the Osceola County Jail.”
So, we are thankful their office was able to lock up a number of creeps and deviants, particularly those involved in horrific sexual crimes or activity involving children.
The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office is dedicated to serving our community and increasing public safety. Anyone with information related to similar incidents, please contact the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office at (407) 348-2222.
Former Lubbock dentist Jason White now charged with 16 counts related to child pornography
LUBBOCK, TX – Former Lubbock dentist Jason White is federally indicted on 16 counts relating to child pornography and enticement of a minor. He was previously indicted on three counts.
A federal magistrate signed a superseding indictment on Wednesday afternoon for former Lubbock dentist accused of producing child pornography and the enticement of minors.
The new indictment accuses him of nine counts of production of child pornography, one count of transportation of child pornography and six counts of enticement and attempted enticement of a minor. The previous indictment was for three counts: production of child pornography, transportation of child pornography, and enticement of a minor.
The new indictment shows the charges against White. It indicates the enticement of minors may have begun in 2004 and continued through 2020, and the production of child pornography began in 2009 and continued through 2020.
The indictment identifies at least seven alleged victims while, according to court documents, as many as 15 juveniles were interviewed.
Eight counts of the production of child pornography are centered around John Doe 15 – which started in 2009 and continued through 2010.
Included in the documents is a forfeiture notice. bIf convicted, White will forfeit to the United States of America any visual depictions described in the federal documents. It also includes any digital media seized by law enforcement, a house located in the 4400 block of 10th Street in Lubbock and the approximately 966-acre ranch located near Garza County, also known as the Drop Tine Draw Ranch.
On Jan. 14, 2021, FBI and Homeland Security agents, along with Lubbock Police, raided White’s dental office and home, removing items from the building and his vehicle. During the raid, White was arrested and booked into the Lubbock County Detention Center.
Then on Jan. 20, 2021, new state charges were filed against White. The warrant for the state he has been charged with sexual performance by a child. These charges stem from the same allegations that brought on the federal charges. A bond for the state charges was set at $150,000. White’s attorney posted the bond, but because White was on a federal hold at the county jail, he was not released.
On Jan. 21, 2021, a civil lawsuit was filed against Jason White, accusing White of sexually assaulting a minor. The plaintiff’s attorney, Kevin Glasheen, says Dr. White “apparently has a porn business,” which they have alleged in the lawsuit. “He’s offered money to minor children for them to produce pornography. He’s touched children inappropriately. And this is apparently, according to the evidence that we’ve discovered, has been going on a long time and is widespread conduct that involves a lot of other people,” Glasheen said in a news conference in January.
They are suing White for at least $10 million.
The civil suit may not be resolved for a year and a half, because of the federal and state cases against White.
In the federal and state court documents, both complaints make mention of other adult males who may be involved in the sharing of child pornography with White.
During a news conference with Glasheen, he said, “We do have some idea, and it does, potentially, involve some very prominent people. And I will say that because it is such a strong accusation and allegation that, you know, we’re not prepared to name those people at this time. I’d like to go through the discovery process in the civil case, that means taking depositions of obtaining documents, and then we’ll see what kind of evidence the law enforcement authorities have. Once Dr. White is indicted and the law enforcement authorities, the prosecutors, will have to hand over their evidence to him. That’s called Brady material, where defendants are allowed to see what the law enforcement has in a criminal case – criminal discovery they call it – and he’ll get that material and then we will get it from him. We’re entitled to get that information from Dr. White. So we’ll have all the federal evidence at that point. Until then, we can attempt to take deposition testimony from both Dr. White and his partners. I expect him to plead the fifth. It will be interesting to see who else pleads the fifth as we move along through our process of taking issuing subpoenas and setting up depositions.”
In March 2020, a judge granted a motion to push the date of the child pornography trial of former Lubbock dentist Jason White, declaring the case complex after prosecutors stated more possible victims have come forward. Jason White’s trial is reset to November 1, at 9 a.m. in the United States District Court.
Texas children access the Internet all the time — using social media, instant messaging, apps on their smartphones and chat rooms. But dangerous child predators lurk online, too. They’re trying to gain children’s trust for evil purposes.
Recent studies show that 1 in 7 young people have experienced unwanted sexual solicitations online — and 1 in 3 have been exposed to unwanted sexual material online.
The Child Exploitation and Fugitive Apprehension Units, formed and overseen by the Office of the Attorney General, work relentlessly to keep our children and communities safe by arresting sexual predators/child pornographers and bringing them to justice.
The resources below are intended to help Texas parents protect their children’s safety — especially online.
10 -17 – Age range of children most often targeted by child predators online
527 – Arrests for online solicitation of a minor and promotion of child pornography in Texas
704 – Convictions for online solicitation of a minor and promotion of child pornography in Texas
Questions & Answers About Cyber Safety in Texas
How can I help fight back against online child predators?
Knowledge is power. Educate yourself — and your children — about cyber safety. Talk to your kids, nieces and nephews, and any adolescent who has access to the Internet about staying safe on the Internet.
Tell them: If they receive any inappropriate contact online, talk to you immediately. It’s OK. They won’t get into trouble. You’re there to help protect them.
As technology evolves, so do the tactics used by child predators. They may use social media, smartphone apps, chat rooms and more — all in an attempt to secure the trust of your children and convince them to meet in person.
The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® has an online program that teaches kids and adults how to be safe online. Visit them at netsmartzkids.org
What is “sextortion”?
Sextortion is a tactic used by online predators to blackmail, groom, entice, coerce, lure and extort their victims into complying with their demands for sexual photos and videos.
These images are used by predators and, often, shared with other predators online. A single victim’s image might be shared with thousands of other predators.
Sextortion predators pose as the child’s peer (or someone of similar age) to gain their trust and illicit images. The predator will often threaten to share the victim’s photos online unless they receive more images.
If you suspect a child has been targeted for sextortion, contact your local law enforcement agency immediately. You can also simply dial 9-1-1.
What challenges does law enforcement face?
When it comes to finding, arresting and convicting online child predators, law enforcement agencies face several challenges. These include:
Staying connected to what’s happening on the Internet both locally and across the globe
Advances in technology (and the tactics that child predators use)
The size and scope of the network of child predators who share images and tips with each other online
The sheer amount of potential leads to follow: The FBI recently reported that on just one anonymous Internet network, Tor, 1.3 million sexually explicit images of children were discovered
What is the Child Exploitation Unit (CEU)?
Introduced in 2003 in order to address the limited resources law enforcement has to fight back against such a large, growing threat as Internet child predators, the CEU investigates and responds to complaints of child pornography online.
The CEU is affiliated with the U.S. Department of Justice’s “Internet Crime AgainstChildren (ICAC) Task Force.” The Texas Attorney General’s CEU is one of three ICAC Tasks Forces Texas — the other two being the Dallas and Houston police departments.
Which laws protect children online?
The primary law to help protect children online is the “Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).”
This law aims to protect children’s personal information on websites (and other Internet services, including apps) that are aimed at children under 13 years old. The law also applies to any general audience website that knows it is collecting personal info from children that age.
COPPA requires these sites and apps to notify parents directly and get their approval before they collect, use, or disclose a child’s personal information.
Additionally, there are other federal and state laws that address cyber safety for children. These include:
Electronic communication providers and remote computer service providers must notify the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s (NCMEC) CyberTipline if a user commits a child pornography offense. (U.S. Code 2258A)
It is illegal to solicit anyone under the age of 17 (minor) — or anyone the offender believes to be under the age of 17 — online for sexual contact or to have sexually explicit communication. (Texas Penal Code 33.021)
It is illegal to possess or promote child pornography. (Texas Penal Code 43.26)
How You Can Help
Here is a collection of helpful resources from around the Web that will help you protect your children online.
Members of Child Abuse WhatsApp
group arrested in 11 countries
“Some group members had even created “stickers”… similar to emojis – of children being abused.”
Spanish police say 33 people have been arrested globally in connection with a WhatsApp group for images of child sex abuse and other violent content.
The many “extreme” images shared in the group had been “normalised by most of its members”, the force said.
Arrests were made in 11 different countries across three continents, but the majority – 17 – were in Spain.
Many of those arrested or being investigated in Spain are themselves under 18, including a 15-year-old boy.
WARNING: Some readers may find details of this story disturbing
In Uruguay, police arrested two people – one of whom was a mother who abused her daughter and sent images of this to the group.
In another case, a 29-year-old man was arrested for not only downloading the images, but also encouraging other group members to make contact with young girls – particularly migrants who would be unlikely to go to the police.
How were they tracked down?
Spain’s National Police began investigating the group more than two years ago, after receiving an email with a tip-off.
They then enlisted the help of Europol, Interpol, and the police in Ecuador and Costa Rica.
As well as Spain and Uruguay, arrests were made in the UK, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Peru, India, Italy, France, Pakistan and Syria.
What did the group share?
In a statement, the police said the group shared “paedophilic content, sometimes of extreme severity, together with other content that was legal but was not suitable for minors because of their extreme nature”.
Some group members had even created “stickers” – small digital images that are easily shared, similar to emojis – of children being abused.
The police also said all of those arrested in Spain were men or boys, and that they come from a mix of social and cultural backgrounds.
One of these men had fled his home in Italy when a search was carried out. He went to a relative’s home in Salamanca, unaware that it was Spain’s National Police who had ordered his arrest.
The operation will now focus on identifying the children being abused in the images.