Sex-abuse video victimizes child long after abuser is gone
The 9-minute video of a man raping his ten-year-old daughter was discovered in New Zealand in 2016 and triggered a global search for the little girl.
Investigators contacted Interpol and the pursuit eventually included the FBI, the U.S. State Department and the Department of Homeland Security. Months later, investigators raided the Bisbee, Arizona home of Paul Adams, arrested him and rescued the girl in the video along with her five siblings.
While Adams can no longer physically hurt his daughter – he died by suicide in custody -- the videos live on, downloaded and uploaded by child pornographers across the U.S. and around the globe, growing ever more popular even as as police, prosecutors, and internet companies chase behind in a futile effort to remove the images.
The number of times the Adams video has been seen soared from fewer than 100 in 2017 to 4,500 in 2021, according to data provided to The Associated Press with the permission of the girl and her adoptive mother, Nancy Salminen. The tally was produced by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, a nonprofit that tracks child pornography on the Internet and works with law enforcement agencies throughout the world.
“That’s the horrendous part about it,” Salminen said. “You can’t just say that’s in the past and shut the door and move on. She will never be able to turn her back on what’s happened.”
The ongoing victimization of the child could have been avoided.
Six years before the video surfaced in Auckland, Adams, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, widely known as the Mormon church, confessed to his bishop that he abused his daughter, identified by the AP as MJ.
But a prominent church lawyer told the bishop to keep the abuse secret. And as a result, MJ was brutalized for seven more years. Today, she continues to be victimized almost daily in a different way, as the video, and others Adams took, circulate on the internet. Details of the Mormon officials’ cover-up of the Adams rapes were reported in an AP investigation in August.
The data provided to the AP also show that police in the U.S. referred the Adams video, or portions of it, to NCMEC for identification 1,850 times since it was discovered, contributing leading to nearly 800 hundreds of arrests on federal child pornography charges last year alone.
Those arrested comprise a coast-to-coast catalog of men -- women rarely traffic in child pornography, the data show – that defies economic or geographic boundaries. A random sampling includes:
* Kurt Sheldon, 31, a librarian in Putnam County, Florida, who was arrested in September 2020 for possession of child pornography and for using Snapchat to solicit pornography from a 12-year-oid girl. Sheldon was sentenced to nearly 22 years in federal prison.
* Joseph Mollick, 58, an oncologist affiliated with the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center who was arrested in October 2021. Federal officials charged him with using the social media application Kik to upload 2,000 child pornography videos and images. Mollnick has pleaded not guilty.
* Jared Faircloth, 24, a U.S. Air Force airman, was arrested October 2021 in Cream Ridge, NJ for downloading more than 2,800 child sex abuse videos and images through the BitTorrent Network. Faircloth pleaded guilty to federal charges and is awaiting sentencing.
* Harold “HL” Moody, Jr. 39, a former communications director for the Arkansas democratic party, was arrested in November, 2018 for distributing child pornography in online chatrooms. The Little Rock resident pleaded guilty to federal charges and is awaiting sentencing.
LIMITS OF COMPUTER SLEUTHING
The seeming immortality of the Adams video underscores the