‘The real boogeymen’: catching child sexual predators in Central Pa.

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"Some like [children] five to seven, or they may like twelve to thirteen, they may like boys, or they may like girls. They may like bondage of children, or videos of rape of children," said Gordon Goodrow, supervisory agent with the Child Predator Section in Central Pennsylvania.

To most of society the crime seems unthinkable: adults whose sexual preference is children.  Predators who watch videos and look at images of children as young as infants involved in sexual acts. It's happening all over the world, and here in Central Pennsylvania.

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Goodrow supervises the Child Predator Section in Central Pennsylvania. The unit is part of the Attorney General's Office.

"We are responsible for going out and identifying individuals downloading child pornography. In addition we also do a lot of online chatting with individuals who are looking to exploit children over the internet through social media, Craigslist, Backpage, places like that," said Goodrow, who gave FOX43 a first-hand look at how the team operates, and took our cameras along as they set out to arrest two men suspected of downloading child pornography.

Case One
"These are the guys you hear about when you are a kid, you know the boogeyman. These are the guys who will prey on children. That's what our unit does we protect children," said Goodrow as he drove with our cameras rolling to the home of their first suspect.

On our first day with the team the agents went after Todd Lesko of Harrisburg. "He is a nurse practitioner so I'm not sure of his schedule, but he works in Enola at the new hospital," said Brittney, a special agent who briefed the team before they went to the suspect's home.

Shortly after the team approached Lesko's apartment prepared for anything, but he wasn't home. Armed with a search warrant they searched his apartment for anything that could be storing child pornography. They took several computers, CD's, and a thumb drive to their forensic van waiting outside.

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On scene
While forensic analysts go through the evidence, other agents can interview a suspect in the back of the van while the interview, and sometimes confession, is recorded.

"There is some sort of perversion for children. When we talk to these guys they will even tell us sometimes they don't think it's bad that they like children," said Goodrow.

Agents remove and search the hard drives and within minutes analysts find what they are looking for, pornographic videos of boys, some as young as toddlers.

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Agents arrest Lesko at his work and charge him.

Lesko charges
During an investigation agents discovered suspected child pornography distributed through a peer-to-peer file sharing service.

The investigation led to Lesko’s Harrisburg residence. Agents with the Office of Attorney General’s Child Predator Section executed a search warrant Wednesday, and a preliminary examination of the electronic devices seized revealed suspected images of child pornography.

Lesko was placed under arrest and charged with four counts of distribution of child pornography and 22 counts of possession of child pornography.

He was confined to the Dauphin County Prison after failing to post $26,000 bail. A preliminary hearing is tentatively scheduled for July 15.

Case two
On our second day with the team the agents target Lawrence Posey of York.

"We were able to download one video on three separate occasions. The last download would have been March 31 so they are pretty recent videos," said Brittney, a Special Agent who briefed the team at a location near Posey's home.

After the briefing and a carefully planned approach the team moved in.

"Police search warrant, please come out!" said agents as they banged on Posey's door.

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Posey wasn't home, so agents moved in and searched his home. They removed computers, phones and other devices and immediately scoured through them in their forensic van parked out back.

Within minutes analysts found child pornography. "Is all the stuff little boys?" Goodrow asked a forensic analyst. "Yes," he responded.

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Agents tracked down Posey at his work about an hour and a half away and arrested him.

"If we hit a door we hit it with a purpose.  We're going to find them. If they're out there we're going to find them," said Goodrow.

Posey charges
Posey was arrested Thursday following an undercover investigation into the dissemination of child pornography. Agents, who were conducting an online investigation, identified a computer on a peer-to-peer network sharing media files believed to depict child pornography. Posey’s residence was identified as the source.

Posey is charged with one count of distribution of child pornography, 52 counts of possession of child pornography and one count of criminal use of a communication facility.

It's a crime unlike most that police investigate. Every clip or image agents find has to be looked at and verified. "They're seeing for eight hours, bad stuff. To see children being raped online, to see the video and the pictures of bondage of infants takes a toll on these guys," said Goodrow.

Child Predator Section
Recently the legislature allocated more money to expand the unit statewide.  "I think in 2013 there was only 19 arrests in child predator, last year there was over 100, I think 169 last year," said Goodrow, who praised the additional resources.

Suspected child predators can be reported to the Office of Attorney General by calling the Child Predator Hotline at 1-800-385-1044. Individuals who suspect an online predator or child sexual abuse can also send an anonymous tip to the office by texting PAKIDS + YOUR TIP to 847411.

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