Bobby Jindal’s Operation ‘Child Watch’

Governor Jindal said, “I said during my campaign for Governor that I would make Louisiana the worst place for anyone who wants to hurt a child. With the strict laws targeting sex offenders we passed in the regular session, we are well on the way to making that a reality.


Governor Bobby Jindal was joined by Attorney General Buddy Caldwell, U.S. Attorney David Dugas, and State Police Superintendent, Colonel Mike Edmonson, today at a press conference to announce the results from Operation “Child Watch,” a joint statewide law enforcement operation targeting sexual predators, which has resulted in the arrest of 17 individuals to date.

Today’s announcement marked the culmination of a multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional law enforcement operation targeting those individuals who prey on children for sexual gratification, according to a news release by Frank Collins with the Governor’s Office.

The mission of Operation “Child Watch” is to rescue children from the potential abuse of child predators by targeting those individuals with sexually explicit images and/or videos on their computers, the release states.

In the release, Governor Jindal said, “I said during my campaign for Governor that I would make Louisiana the worst place for anyone who wants to hurt a child. With the strict laws targeting sex offenders we passed in the regular session, we are well on the way to making that a reality.

“I want the message to be clear: If you want to hurt a child, if you want to molest a kid, if you want to commit a sex crime against our innocent young people – you cannot do it here in Louisiana,” Jindal states.

“Here, you will be found out, shut down, and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. The arrests we are here announcing today are just the latest example of this. In Louisiana, we will have the strictest laws, the strongest penalties, and the swiftest justice,” Jindal states.

This operation is part of Governor Jindal’s continuing commitment to crack down on sex offenders. Governor Jindal supported many pieces of legislation passed by the legislature in the regular session, including legislation to:

• Require lifetime registration for all sexual offenders.
• Increase the area where sexual offenders are prohibited from 1,000 to 2,000 feet: public or private school property, school busses, daycare facilities, playgrounds, youth centers, public swimming pools, public parks and recreational facilities, and video arcades.
• Increase the penalty for unlawful presence of a sexual offender from $1,000 to $2,000 and the sentence from one-year imprisonment to two years.
• Increase the minimum sentence for computer-aided solicitation of a minor from one year to a five-year minimum when the victim is 13 or older and increase to a ten-year minimum when the victim is 12 or younger.
• Increase the minimum sentence for molestation of a juvenile from one year to a five-year minimum when the victim is 13 or older and increase to a ten-year minimum when the victim is 12 or younger.
• Allow internet sites like Facebook and Myspace to link up with Louisiana’s sex predator database to ensure that offenders aren’t setting up profiles to prey on children.
• Close a loophole in existing law that would allow an offender to utilize electronic communications to establish other forms of communications in order to persuade induce, entice a minor to engage or participate in sexual conduct.
• Increase the time that Louisiana authorities can jail suspects from 60 days to 120 days, if a judge authorizes the extension.
• Prohibit a sex offender from wearing a mask, hood or disguise during holiday events and from distributing candy or other gifts on Halloween to persons under eighteen years of age.
• Allow for the chemical castration of certain sex offenders on their first offense, and to require the chemical castration of certain sex offenders on their second offense.
• Consolidate our sex offender database so sheriffs, state police and local law enforcement officials can all share information on sex offenders easily online – to make sure no offender slips through the cracks.
• DHH led the effort to organize a new system of civil commitment for sex offenders to go into a secure facility after they finish their prison term for their crime. This will ensure that sex offenders are treated for their illness and are less likely to recommit their awful crimes again.

Operation “Child Watch” was coordinated by the Louisiana State Police and the Attorney General’s High Tech Crime Unit with the support of parish and local law enforcement agencies across Louisiana.

“Having the State Police partner with us is enhancing the effectiveness of our fight against child predators,” said Attorney General Caldwell, in the release.

“This is a tremendous boost to apprehending those who would seek to harm our children. Ninety plus law enforcement agencies, including State Police, take Louisiana to another level of effectiveness in this never ending battle to stop internet crime against our kids,” Caldwell states.

Investigators executed twenty search warrants throughout the Alexandria, Lake Charles, and Lafayette areas.

As a result, investigators arrested seventeen individuals for violating LA R.S. 14:81.1 (Pornography Involving Juveniles). Detectives seized over thirty computers, numerous compact discs, DVDs, and other digital media devices.

These devices contained images and videos of sexual abuse depicted the brutal sexual assault of children as young as three years old. Some of the locations targeted were in close proximity to elementary and high schools.

Detectives also found children who were living inside the homes where pornographic material was in plain view. These children were removed from the home with the assistance of the Department of Social Services.

Several of the arrested individuals had previous arrests for sexual offenses.

“The success of this operation is due to the dedicated Troopers, Deputies, Officers and Agents who have partnered together and devoted every available resource to protecting our children from these unimaginable criminal acts,” said Colonel Edmonson, in the release.

“We will continue to work together and aggressively seek out those individuals producing, sharing, viewing or storing child pornography. We will also look beyond the pornography to ensure our children are protected from molestation and other forms of child abuse,” Edmonson states.

The agencies involved in this operation are as follows:

Louisiana State Police
Louisiana Attorney General’s Office
Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office
Alexandria Police Department
Ball Police Department
Dry Prong Police Department
Grant Parish Sheriff’s Office
Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office
Crowley Police Department
St. Martin Parish Sheriff’s Office
St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s Office
Beauregard Parish Sheriff’s Office
Louisiana Alcohol Tobacco Control
Sulphur Police Department

Also assisting in the investigations were the United States Attorney’s Office and the Parish District Attorney’s Offices.

According to U.S. Attorney David Dugas, “Child pornography is a serious form of sexual exploitation of children.

“Many of these cases involve images of very young children being subjected to the worst forms of sexual abuse. The victims are children who were violated in the worst imaginable way and who are violated over and over again when the images of their victimization are distributed, received and viewed by strangers,” Dugas states.

“Federal law provides serious penalties for the receipt and possession of child pornography and the investigation and prosecution of cases of sexual exploitation of children is a top priority of the Department of Justice and our state and local partners,” Dugas states.