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Sweeping Crackdown on Child Exploitation in Florida: Over 1,500 Predators Prosecuted



By Ciara Perez, News Reporter | iSkyCreations - News & Media (ISC News)Published Dec 28th, 2023


Tampa, FL – In a landmark achievement for child protection, the Middle District of Florida, led by United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg, has reached a milestone in the battle against child exploitation. The district has successfully prosecuted over 1,500 individuals, a significant contribution to Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide crusade initiated by the Department of Justice in 2006.


Project Safe Childhood, orchestrated by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the CEOS (Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section), is a concerted effort to counter the escalating crisis of child sexual exploitation and abuse. The project aligns federal, state, and local agencies in a unified mission to track down and prosecute those who prey on children and to provide much-needed support and rescue to the young victims.


Handberg, expressing pride in the district’s pivotal role, remarked, “Since the early days of Project Safe Childhood, our team has been at the forefront of tackling the scourge of online child exploitation. Just this year, we've charged over 100 individuals, marking one of our highest yearly counts. It's a testament to our unwavering commitment to protecting the innocent.”


The success stories of 2023 highlight the district’s determined approach:


  • Fort Myers: Jeffrey Holcombe received a 25-year sentence for producing distressing images and videos of a minor.

  • Jacksonville: Paul Edward Lee, Jr. was sentenced to 30 years for attempting to lure a minor into producing exploitative content.

  • Ocala: Eddie Joe Oglesby got an 80-year term for his heinous crimes involving child sex abuse material.

  • Orlando: Michael Remaley was handed a 40-year sentence for exploiting a young girl through social media.

  • Tampa: Brooke Sparks was sentenced to 40 years for creating and distributing child abuse material.


These cases were just the tip of the iceberg, involving meticulous investigations by the FBI, Homeland Security Investigations, and local law enforcement, coupled with the strategic prosecution by a team of dedicated Assistant United States Attorneys.


The collaborative effort of various law enforcement agencies has been a cornerstone of this initiative. John Condon from HSI Tampa highlighted their resolve, stating, “Our goal is clear: track down and bring to justice those despicable individuals who exploit the most vulnerable in our society. We're committed to this fight, and our results speak for themselves.”


The Middle District of Florida's 2023 efforts against child exploitation demonstrate a powerful alliance of agencies working together to protect children. For more detailed information about these cases and Project Safe Childhood, the public is encouraged to visit the websites of the Middle District of Florida and the Department of Justice.


[Source: United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida]

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