Thursday, March 15, 2007
Police Catch Child Pornographer Prowling InternetLos Angeles: Detectives announced the February 1, 2007, arrest of a San Pedro man for possession of child pornography. The Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office filed one count of distributing child pornography, and nine counts of possessing material depicting minors engaging in sexual conduct.
A search warrant and arrest at Michael Dennis Hecker’s San Pedro apartment ended a three-month investigation against the 52-year-old manager for a local gas distributor.
“What’s different about this case is how we caught him,” said LAPD spokesman
Lieutenant Paul Vernon. “Computer software have extended the long-arm of the law to place that child predators might otherwise think they are safe to operate.”
The LAPD’s Juvenile Division has a specialized unit called the Internet Crimes Against Children Unit (ICACU). Detectives recently began using a file-sharing network program that allows them to monitor persons who log into internet websites. Detectives were able to watch as Hecker downloaded known child pornography. Detectives were able to get a search warrant for Hecker’s IP address, from which they found his home address and obtained a second search warrant.
Detectives seized 47 DVDs and 37 CDs containing thousands of movies and still photography of children engaged in sexual acts with other children and adults. On the day of his arrest, Hecker posted the $20,000 bail and was released. His bail was raised to $100,000 on March 13, after the charges were filed. Hecker was able to post the additional bail immediately and remains free pending a preliminary hearing.
Media interested in a demonstration of the monitoring program can see a demonstration of it by calling Detective Brian Arnett at 213-847-5358.