Launched in November 2011 and funded by a United States Department of Justice Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grant, the Child Sexual Predator Project is an initiative of the Northwestern District Attorney's Office which seeks to protect children from sexual predators by:
- establishing and maintaining a computer forensics laboratory within the district to examine digital media for evidence of child pornography and other predatory behaviors;
- ensuring that sex offenders comply with conditions of probation, parole and registration by assisting with rigorous oversight of such offenders;
- aggressively prosecuting sex offenders who fail to comply with registration requirements or who violate conditions of probation/parole; who create, distribute or possess child pornography; and/or who target child victims through the Internet;
- training local law enforcement officers in the latest techniques for detecting child pornography on computers, cell phones and other digital media;
- establishing a text-a-tip line, allowing citizens to report offenders who are in violation of their conditions of release, who are creating, distributing or possessing child pornography; who are targeting child victims through the Internet; or who are actively offending;
- providing Internet safety training in the community for children, parents and professionals who work with children.
The Child Sexual Predator Task Force is a collaboration of the Northwestern District Attorney's Office; the United States Attorney's Office and federal, state and local law enforcement officers who are specially trained to investigate Internet crimes against children; parole and probation officers who supervise convicted sex offenders; the Massachusetts State Police Violent Fugitive Apprehension Squad and the United States Marshall's Service, who help locate and apprehend high-risk offenders.
The Child Sexual Predator Project can help local law enforcement by:
- assisting in the drafting of search warrant applications for computers and other digital media;
- conducting examinations of cell phones, either pursuant to search warrants or consent by the owner;
- assisting with applications for complaint or warrant for sex offenders within a jurisdiction who are out of compliance with SORB requirements;
- assisting with locating and apprehending sex offenders who are out of compliance and who are the subject of arrest warrants;
- training local law enforcement officers in correct protocols for preservation of evidence when the "crime scene" consists of digital media;
- forwarding information to local law enforcement concerning sex offenders in the jurisdiction , when information is received via text-a-tip