Office of the Attorney General
Attorney General Conway's Cybercrimes Unit Marks 5th Anniversary

Press Release Date:  Thursday, June 06, 2013  
Contact Information:  Shelley Catharine Johnson
Deputy Communications Director
502-696-5659 (office)
 


Attorney General Jack Conway's Cybercrimes Unit is celebrating its 5th anniversary and touting its many accomplishments in the fight against child pornography, cyber- predators and crimes that occur online.

Since its creation in June of 2008, General Conway's Cybercrimes Unit has launched 341 child pornography investigations and seized more than 403,000 child pornographic images and videos from the Internet. The unit's investigative efforts have also resulted in a 100 percent conviction rate. That includes the March 2012 guilty plea of Dale Chisena Sr., a retired Florida school teacher who traveled to Kentucky to have sexual relations with two juveniles. Chisena was sentenced in U.S. District Court to 30 years in prison following a sting operation conducted by General Conway's cybercrimes investigators.

An investigation launched by General Conway's Cybercrimes Unit in October of 2011 resulted in the guilty plea earlier this year of 27-year-old Mathew Ferreira of Paducah to three counts of distribution of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography. Ferreira admitted to using Skype software to knowingly distribute images of child pornography and to using Skype to make videos of a child in Singapore. Ferreira will be sentenced in U.S. District Court on June 13 and could face up to 70 years in prison.

Other notable cases investigated by General Conway's Cybercrimes Unit include the arrest and indictment of Daniel Scott Neal, a teacher at Hancock County High School. Neal faces 39 counts of possessing child pornography.

An investigation in March 2013 resulted in the arrest of an Independence, Ky. man on child pornography charges. Sixty-four-year-old Timothy Johnston, a foster parent and former Boy Scout leader, is charged with five counts of distributing and possessing child pornography. The Kenton County Commonwealth's Attorney's Office is handling the prosecution of this case.

"The work being done by my Cybercrimes investigators has made the Internet a safer place for Kentucky kids," General Conway said. "I am proud of our many accomplishments over the past five years, and pleased that our Cybercrimes Unit remains a national model in the fight against crimes that occur online."

Despite unprecedented budget cuts of more than 30 percent, General Conway followed through on his commitment to create a unit dedicated to investigate crimes that occur online. In June of 2008, he streamlined priority operations within his office and launched a Cybercrimes Unit devoted solely to investigating online crimes. The unit is now a member of the U.S. Department of Justice Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

General Conway also opened a digital forensic lab to help law enforcement across the Commonwealth address the backlog in processing and examining crucial digital evidence involved in 80 percent of today's crimes.

"Previously, police and prosecutors could wait up to a year for evidence to be processed," General Conway said. "In some cases, we've been able to process hard drives and other vital digital evidence in a week, reducing the backlog of evidence."

Additionally, the Unit has trained more than 2400 law enforcement and prosecutors on the latest technologies in fighting cybercrimes and data collection.

The following are the Attorney General's Cybercrimes statistics since June of 2008

• Launched 341 child pornography investigations
• Obtained 114 child pornography convictions (100 percent conviction rate)
• Executed 172 search warrants
• Seized 403,157 child pornographic images and videos
• Processed 6,119 hard drives and removable devices for a total of 133 Terabytes of data.
• Trained more than 2,400 law enforcement offices and prosecutors in data collection and combatting cybercrimes
• One of nine agencies in the country selected by Microsoft to host cybersafety training for investigators

In 2009, the General Assembly passed comprehensive cybercrimes legislation (HB 315) drafted by General Conway to modernize Kentucky laws related to crimes that occur online and to better protect Kentucky children from the dangers that exist online. Additionally, General Conway has traveled across the Commonwealth educating parents, students and teachers about the dangers that exist online. Since taking office, he has presented his Internet safety message to more than 52,000 Kentuckians, mostly children.

General Conway has also partnered with the Kentucky Department of Education and ConnectKentucky to create CybersafeKY. Through the partnership, the agencies are able to pool their resources to provide more Internet safety educational opportunities across the Commonwealth.

Attorney General Conway's Top Online Safety Tips

• Teach your children they should never meet an online friend in person unless you are with them.
• Keep the computer in a family room, kitchen or open area –NOT in a child's bedroom.
• As any condition of use, make your child list you as a friend on Facebook or MySpace.
• Think before you post. The words and images you post online can affect college admission, future employment or even personal relationships.
• Avoid posting vacation updates and pictures on social networking sites while you are away from home.
• Check your privacy settings on social networking sites like Facebook or MySpace and be mindful of personal information you share online, such as your birthplace or birthdate.

For additional tips to help parents, teens and senior citizens stay safe online, visit Attorney General Conway's "Cybersafety in Kentucky" website at http://ag.ky.gov/cybersafety/ . To report cyber abuse, visit the CyberTipline or call 1-800-843-5678.