Have you seen Panorama City's 'Red Car Flasher' suspect?
PANORAMA CITY -- Los Angeles police detectives have released this second sketch of a man they have dubbed the Red Car Flasher. He has exposed his naked body to teenage Hispanic girls near Arleta and Panorama City middle and high schools over a dozen times since August 2011.
Police released a second sketch today of a man they call the "Red Car Flasher," who has exposed himself to young women and teenage girls more than a dozen times.
Many of the flashing crimes occurred near Panorama City and Arleta middle and high schools. Detectives said they hope to make an arrest before school resumes after the holiday break.
The sketch released today depicts a fair-skinned man with a receding hairline, believed by police to be between 25 and 40 years old. He may have a scar on one cheek, detectives said.
"Two victims in separate incidents have given us descriptions that have resulted in two nearly identical sketches," according to LAPD Detective Luz Montero of the department's Mission station. "We think the suspect lives in the area he prowls."
A red, compact car, possibly an older Honda, Toyota or Nissan, was common to all the crimes, police said, adding that the suspect may have tried to hide the license plate with a shirt or towel.
The most recent of more than a dozen occurrences happened Dec. 22, when a naked man jumped from a red compact car near Woodman Avenue and Lassen Street, and extended his arms toward an 18-year-old girl walking on the sidewalk.
"We're calling him a flasher, but since he has tried to grab victims, the stakes are much higher, Montero said.
Anyone with information on the Red Car Flasher was urged to call LAPD Mission detectives at 818-838-9975.
Supporting First Responders to Children's Trauma
Mary L. Pulido, Ph.D. -- Executive Director, The New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children
As the reports from the tragic school shooting in Newton, Conn., poured in, I listened non-stop and like others, tried to make sense of a senseless act of cruelty and horror. I was relieved to learn that my young nieces in Newtown were safe. I was devastated for those who lost their loved ones. As a first responder in the field of child abuse for over two decades, my heart also went out to those police, EMT's, teachers, firemen and medical personnel who had to deal with the horrific murder scene of innocent children and adults, their grieving families and the panicked surviving students. Later that evening, the news reported that those first responders were also receiving counseling services. I was relieved; the psychological and emotional impact of trauma on the "first responders" should never be under-estimated.
Victimization has a "ripple effect," spreading out to all those with whom those who have intimate contact. The impact of exposure to others' pain and suffering must be realized. As a result of indirect exposure to the specific traumatic occurrence via close contact with the survivor, individuals may experience similar symptoms as the survivor. This process has been called Secondary Traumatic Stress (STS).
Secondary Traumatic Stress is a broad term for characterizing the symptoms and behaviors that develop as professionals provide services to children and adults that have been traumatized or are suffering. It is a normal response that professionals experience who are exposed to painful, traumatic material. These practitioners may be working as firemen, police officers, social workers, EMT's, child protective service workers, therapists, caseworkers, attorneys or physicians; in a wide range of fields, such as child protection, domestic violence prevention, law enforcement, homeless shelter services or mental and medical health care. They are constantly "taking in" others pain and in the worse cases, like Newtown, CT, horrific scenes of carnage. Research has shown that exposure to children's trauma is more provocative.
This type of exposure to traumatic events means is that these professionals may start to experience symptoms similar to the traumatized person they are trying to help, most often Post Traumatic Stress Symptoms. Many first responders have reported intrusive symptoms like nightmares and flashbacks of the event or an intense preoccupation with the traumatic situation; avoidance symptoms such as avoiding places where an event occurred , or becoming "numb" to others pain. They may also experience hyper-arousal symptoms such as irritability, impatience with self and others; anger, restlessness, trouble concentrating. A common problem reported by first responders is memory impairment. This may be due to a combination of physical fatigue and information overload, but can also be a reaction to stress. Cognitive problems can also lead to poor judgment, a critically necessary attribute when responding to a traumatic situation.
Essential to understanding why this occurs are the concepts of empathy and exposure. First, those in the helping/rescuing professions are there because they care. And, because they care, they are constantly in situations where they are exposed to others pain. It really only makes sense that this work impacts the helper too.
For those of us in these professions; we probably understood in general personal fortitude needed and risks involved when we signed on. But, more often than not, we didn't realize how deeply we could be impacted by bearing constant witness to the intense suffering of others. Be it an EMT, a child protective services worker or a doctor in an emergency room; there is a constant "taking in" of others pain.
As a consultant on STS since the terrorist attacks of 9/11, I have found that several interventions on the organizational, professional and personal levels are very helpful to managing STS.
Organizationally, a supportive environment, enlightened supervision and access to longer term counseling when needed is a tremendous help to first responders. If the organization that the person works for is savvy about the impact of STS, steps can be put in place, such as regular debriefings, that will validate and normalize the reactions. Management must also set good practice policies for hiring, compensation, work hours, overtime and a regular break schedule. Personnel policies that ensure adequate time off, access to medical and mental health care, and solid insurance coverage for staff are also important organizational responsibilities.
Balancing the number of hours worked per week as well as the proportion of work that is directly trauma related should be taken into consideration. It is also important to set time boundaries that balance work life with personal life. Overworking is common among dedicated professionals. Many assume too many responsibilities, take work home and subsequently do not allowing adequate time to separate from work. Setting limits may be hard, especially in traumatic response settings where long days are expected, but, rejuvenation is critical for sustaining one's on-going efforts.
Peer group supervision or regular debriefing meetings are helpful to many. Such collaboration nurtures collegiality and reduces worker isolation. This worker-team concept can also help staff acknowledge STS reactions as well as recognize the toll that exposure to a survivors' trauma can have on a professional
All first responders should develop a workday self-care plan to aid with coping. Scheduling in a brief break in between highly charged assignments is helpful. Even minimal down time can aid a positive perspective.
Personal interventions include aspects of physical, social and psychological self-care. Maintaining the health of one's body is essential. This includes regular exercise, scheduling and keeping routine medical and dental appointments, and making sure to get adequate sleep and nutrition every day.
As with survivors, social support is essential for first responders. Talking with others can be a stress reliever. Co-workers may share similar feelings and discussions can serve to normalize and validate staffs' experiences as well as reduce isolation. Therapeutic support from a licensed clinician may also be helpful and in some situations, recommended.
Maintaining a diversity of activities further strengthens coping capacity. First responders should aim to have a balance of work, outside interests, social contacts, personal time and recreation. Incorporating relaxation into every day; engaging in pleasurable activities such as having contact with nature; spending time caring for pets or gardening have been reported as helpful. This change of view gives one a larger perspective of the world. Often, first responders are so busy they may forget to engage the creative side of themselves. Artistry, baking, cooking, playing a musical instrument, singing, dancing and sports all help mitigate STS reactions.
First responders often cite spirituality and meditation as helpful in handling STS. The benefits of meditation can include reduced blood pressure, easier breathing, and muscle relaxation. Spirituality can include participating in an organized religion or simply engaging in activities that bolster positive faith in one's self.
First responders must be supported. It's critical that they remain at the top of their game -- for themselves -- and for all of the children and families that count on them during times of trauma. For more information on supporting first responders and managing STS visit www.nyspcc.org
St. George Police Citizens' Academy involves public, community-oriented policing
ST. GEORGE - The St. George Police Department is encouraging public involvement and cooperation with law enforcement through its “Community-Oriented Policing” program and the “Citizens' Academy.”
Community-oriented policing reflects a new philosophy law enforcement agencies across the country are adopting a to help fight crime. It encourages cooperation between police and citizens to address public safety issues. By offering citizens the opportunity to become more directly involved with their police, both groups are able to contribute to enhancing the quality of life and reducing crime in their community.
The St. George Police Department has adopted this philosophy and is offering the community a program designed to provide an in-depth look at its functions. The 18th session of the Citizens' Academy consists of a series of classroom sessions and demonstrations designed to introduce each participant to the abilities the department has and the limitations officers face.
The academy will be held from Feb. 21 to Apr. 16, with training sessions held every Tuesday and Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m. Potential candidates must be at least 18 unless approved by the chief of police, have no criminal record and be able to attend the sessions. Applications can be picked up in person at the St. George Police Department office (265 North 200 East) or downloaded from the City of St. George website.
The goal of the Community-Oriented Policing program and the Citizens' Academy is to foster a better relationship between the citizens of St. George and their police department. By achieving this, the department will be able to improve communication, obtain citizen input and support and encourage more meaningful involvement on both parts.
St George, UTAH -- Community-Oriented Policing program Citizens' Academy -
Event details and contact information
Date: Feb. 21 to Apr. 16
Time: 6 to 8 p.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays
Location: St. George Police Department Training Room, 265 North 200 East, St. George
Contact: Capt. Michael Giles – 435-627-4313 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Submitted by: St. George Police Department
123 sexually exploited children identified by HSI during 'Operation Sunflower'
Operation commemorates anniversary of an 11-year-old girl rescued in Kansas; reflects the agency's growing focus on victim-centered investigations
WASHINGTON — One hundred twenty-three victims of child sexual exploitation were identified by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents during an international operation aimed at rescuing victims and targeting individuals who own, trade and produce images of child pornography. Of that number, 44 children were directly rescued from their abusers and 79 were identified as either being exploited by others outside of their home or are now adults who were victimized as children.
HSI launched Operation Sunflower in November 2012 to commemorate the one-year anniversary in which the identification of a sunflower-shaped highway road sign led to the rescue of an 11-year-old girl in Kansas. Operation Sunflower was executed through the first week of December 2012, but victim identification and rescue efforts continue under HSI's Operation Predator.
"The sexual abuse of young children, often at the hands of people they trust, is a particular wrong," said ICE Director John Morton. "Whenever our investigations reveal the production and distribution of new child pornography online, we will do everything we can to rescue the victim and prosecute the abuser even if takes us years or around the world to do it. A relentless fight against child exploitation is the only answer."
HSI and partner law enforcement agencies arrested 245 individuals during the operation, which took place Nov. 1 to Dec. 7. Of the 123 victims, 110 were identified in 19 U.S. states.
Of the 123 victims identified during Operation Sunflower: five were under the age of 3, nine were ages 4 to 6; 21 were ages 7 to 9; 11 were ages 10 to 12; 38 were ages 13 to 15; and 15 were ages 16 to 17. Twenty-four of the victims identified are now adults who were victimized as children. Seventy were female and 53 were male.
HSI victim assistance specialists, located in offices around the country, provide direct assistance to victims and families, and work with both child and adult victims to provide referrals for services and resources in their area. The specialists remain involved during the investigation and often beyond the sentencing of the perpetrator.
Focusing on Victim Identification
In 2012, HSI special agents, working closely with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC), partially identified multiple individuals across the country who were sexually abusing young children and taking photos or videos of the acts. Special agents worked with the Department of Justice and its Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section to issue national Jane and John Doe warrants to arrest these perpetrators and rescue their victims. The most recent case was solved two weeks ago in Florida.
Now, the public's help is being sought with any leads that can help provide clues in several cases and rescue more victims.
"We applaud our partners at ICE for their worldwide work in identifying these victims of child sexual exploitation and for helping to remove these children from extremely dangerous situations," said NCMEC CEO John Ryan. "We know that there's more work to be done. Anyone could know these victims, not knowing that they're being harmed. They could be your neighbors' children, your child's classmate, or even your own child. We thank Director Morton and everyone at ICE for their strong commitment to rescuing the most vulnerable of victims."
Seeking 'Jane and John Doe' and Two Other Unknown Suspects
On Monday, HSI special agents in Los Angeles obtained a Jane and John Doe warrant based on a longstanding, unsolved case involving a widely distributed series of child pornography images. The photographs, which authorities believe were taken about 11 years ago, depict a male and female adult sexually molesting a girl who looks to be about 13 years old at the time. Although the male suspect's face has been purposely obscured by an unknown person, the female suspect's face can be seen in a number of the images. John Doe appears to be a white male, 40 to 50 years old; Jane Doe appears to be a white female, 35 to 45 years old. The suspects would now be approximately 11 years older. The female suspect has several tattoos, including: a black tattoo on her right hip resembling a butterfly; a tattoo on her right shoulder blade depicting the outline of a curled up cat; a tattoo with words across the top of her left wrist; and a tattoo of unknown design on the upper portion of her left breast.
Based upon detailed forensic analysis, investigators suspect the abuse depicted in the images may have occurred in Los Angeles, possibly in the San Fernando Valley-area. HSI special agents in Los Angeles have interviewed dozens of individuals seeking further leads in the case, but they have yet to confirm the suspects' or victim's identities. Although the victim is likely an adult now, HSI continues to investigate the case in the hope that the perpetrators can be located and prosecuted, preventing the abuse of future victims.
The sexual abuse images in this case were first discovered by HSI special agents in Chicago in 2007 in an unrelated child pornography investigation. The material was submitted to NCMEC's Child Victim Identification Program, which determined the victim had not yet been identified and could be in danger of ongoing sexual exploitation. After determining there was probable cause to believe that the abuse occurred in California in approximately 2001, NCMEC referred the case to HSI Los Angeles for further investigation.
The images of two other unknown suspects, wanted for questioning in other unsolved child pornography investigations, are also being publicized. Anyone with information or tips that can assist in these investigations is encouraged to call 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or visit www.ICE.gov/tips. Tips may be reported anonymously.
The identity and whereabouts of the victims and the perpetrators in these cases remain unknown.
The Sunflower Case
Operation Sunflower is named after the first case conducted one year ago under the agency's newly created Victim Identification Program. Operation Sunflower commemorates the one-year anniversary of this first successful rescue under the new program.
The Sunflower case began in November 2011 when Danish law enforcement officials shared with HSI their discovery of material and posts on a chat board indicating that a 16-year-old boy was planning to rape an 11-year-old girl. The suspect was soliciting advice on a pedophile board and posting images of the girl. One image held a clue that proved to be invaluable to investigators: a yellow road sign visible from the window of a moving vehicle. The road sign depicted a sunflower graphic that was unique to the State of Kansas.
For days, HSI special agents drove in pairs along Kansas highways, seeking a comparison between the images in the photos and the actual locations. Just 13 days after receiving the material, and by combining sophisticated photo forensics with traditional law enforcement methods, special agents located the residence in a small Kansas town. These efforts made it possible for law enforcement to intervene and rescue the girl before she was further victimized.
Additional Statistics and Information
In fiscal year 2012, 292 victims were identified or rescued as a direct result of HSI child pornography investigations. Fiscal year 2012 is the first year in which HSI tracked the number of victims rescued as part of its child sexual exploitation investigations. This number does not include the hundreds of victims rescued overseas by foreign law enforcement agencies as a result of HSI cases and leads.
Also in fiscal year 2012, a record number of child predators – 1,655 – were arrested on criminal charges related to these types of investigations. Since 2003, HSI has initiated more than 24,000 cases and arrested 8,720 individuals for these types of crimes. HSI arrested 1,335 predators in 2011 and 912 in 2010.
Operation Sunflower was conducted as part of Operation Predator, a nationwide HSI initiative to protect children from sexual predators, including those who travel overseas for sex with minors, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders and child sex traffickers. HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators.
Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to NCMEC, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-THE-LOST.
HSI is a founding member and chair of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse. NCMEC is also a member of the VGT.
Learn more about Operation Sunflower's Significant Cases and Unsolved Cases .
Note to Editors: HD video and still images of this operation may be downloaded from the following website, after completing a brief registration process: http://www.dvidshub.net/unit/ICE .
From the FBI
The Year in Review --
A Look at FBI Cases, Part 2
With our partners in the law enforcement and intelligence communities, the FBI worked thousands of investigations during 2012, from cyber crimes to economic espionage and multi-million-dollar fraud schemes. As the year draws to a close, we take a look back at some of 2012's most significant cases.
Part 1 focused on terrorism. This segment highlights some of the year's top cases from the FBI's other investigative priorities:
Insider trading: Charges against seven investment professionals were announced in New York in January alleging an insider trading scheme that netted nearly $62 million in illegal profits. Details
California gang takedown: A total of 119 defendants were charged in San Diego in January with federal racketeering conspiracy, drug trafficking violations, and federal firearm offenses in one of the largest single gang takedowns in FBI San Diego history. The target was the Mexican Mafia gang and its affiliates. Details
Economic espionage: In February, a federal grand jury in San Francisco charged five individuals and five companies with economic espionage and theft of trade secrets in connection with their roles in a long-running effort to obtain U.S. trade secrets for the benefit of companies controlled by the People's Republic of China. Details
Cyber hackers charged: Several hackers in the U.S. and abroad were charged in New York in March with cyber crimes affecting over a million victims. Four principal members of the hacking groups Anonymous and LulzSec were among those indicted; another key member previously pled guilty to similar charges. Details
Anchorage man indicted for murder: In April, Israel Keyes was charged with the kidnapping and murder of an Anchorage barista. Keyes is believed to have committed multiple kidnappings and murders across the country between 2001 and March 2012. In December, after Keyes committed suicide in jail, the FBI requested the public's help regarding his other victims. Details
Financial fraudster receives 110-year sentence: In June, Allen Stanford—the former chairman of Stanford International Bank—was sentenced in Houston to 110 years in prison for orchestrating a 20-year investment fraud scheme in which he misappropriated $7 billion to finance his personal businesses. Details
Nationwide sweep recovers child victims of prostitution: The FBI and its partners announced the results of Operation Cross Country, a three-day law enforcement action in June in which 79 child victims of prostitution were recovered and more than 100 pimps were arrested. Details
International cyber takedown: Also in June, a two-year FBI undercover cyber operation culminated in the arrest of 24 individuals in eight countries. The investigation focused on “carding” crimes—offenses in which the Internet is used to steal victims' credit card and bank account information—and was credited with protecting over 400,000 potential cyber crime victims and preventing over $205 million in losses. Details
Health care fraud: In July, global health care company GlaxoSmithKline pled guilty to fraud allegations and failure to report safety data and agreed to pay $3 billion in what officials called the largest health care fraud settlement in U.S. history. Details
Russian military procurement network: In October, 11 members of a Russian military procurement network operating in the United States and Russia, as well as a Texas-based export company and a Russia-based procurement firm, were indicted in New York and charged with illegally exporting high-tech microelectronics from the U.S. to Russian military and intelligence agencies. Details
The Year in Review, Part 1: Significant terrorism-related cases of 2012