330 arrested in sex offenders blitz

“Child protection is everybody’s business and we should afford our children the same protection online that we would give them in the park or playground – – that is our approach and that collective response has already hit home.”

More than 330 people have been arrested by officers targeting the UK’s highest-risk sex offenders in the last year, figures have showed.

The Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) unit, which runs a “most wanted” website as part of its work, has arrested more than 700 suspected offenders since its launch three years ago and helped save nearly 350 children, 139 in the last 12 months alone.

A CEOP spokesman said it had also helped dismantle or disrupt 166 networks of offenders since 2006, 82 in the last year, but warned that tactics being deployed by those who target children were also evolving.

Jim Gamble, chief executive of the CEOP Centre, said it was “easy to be alarmist” and suggest that “technology is opening doors for offenders to abuse children quicker than we can close them”.

But he went on: “This is not about technology – this is about people. There is no distinction between the online and offline worlds. This is about the behaviour of offenders manipulating any environment to abuse children.

“Child protection is everybody’s business and we should afford our children the same protection online that we would give them in the park or playground – – that is our approach and that collective response has already hit home.”

A total of 334 suspected child sex offenders have been arrested for offences ranging from possession of indecent images to rape in the last year, CEOP said.

The figures, published in the organisation’s annual review for 2008/09 and covering work specifically involving CEOP teams, showed grooming was still the number one offence reported to the centre.

But whereas before this was done primarily through instant messaging, there is a “fast-growing trend” of exploiting children through vast, integrated social networking sites, a CEOP spokesman said.

The organisation also found an average of four reports a day needed immediate action as a result of a child being at risk.

Rodney Mead Pelling – Child Pornography Production


A Newberg golf instructor was arraigned in federal court Monday on charges that he used a 12-year-old girl to produce child pornography as they traveled together across the state.

A 10-count indictment handed up in Eugene last month accuses Rodney Mead Pelling, 68, of producing, possessing and receiving sexually explicit images of children.

Pelling pleaded not guilty to all counts. He has been described as an amateur photographer, businessman and history buff.

“This is a very serious case involving the repeated sexual exploitation of a young child,” said Karin Immergut, the U.S. attorney for Oregon, in a news release. The case was “made worse by the fact that Rodney Pelling chose to photograph and thereby memorialize that exploitation.”

The girl, who competed in golf and gymnastic competitions, accompanied Pelling across the state, according to state police, sheriff’s deputies in two counties and FBI agents who investigated the case.

The case against Pelling began in July when he was seen behaving inappropriately with the girl at a motel in Sisters, government prosecutors said.

During those travels and back at his home, Pelling created sexually explicit images of the girl, the government alleges. Those images were produced in Deschutes, Yamhill, Coos and Douglas counties from April 9, 2007, to May 4, 2008, according to the indictment against Pelling.

The indictment also accuses the golf instructor of receiving child pornography at least four times between October 2006 and January 2007, as well as possessing the illegal images in July 2008.

Deschutes County sheriff’s deputies arrested Pelling last July, and he was charged in Deschutes and Yamhill counties with first-degree sex abuse and using a child in the display of sexually explicit conduct — both Measure 11 crimes that carry mandatory-minimum prison sentences. He has been held in the Yamhill County Jail since then.

Federal charges were added in the case last month because investigators believe he downloaded images of the girl to his computers and received child pornography over the Internet.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas Coffin ordered that Pelling be held in jail pending his trial, which is set for July 21 before U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken in Eugene.

“25% of all sex offenders re-offend within 15 years”
………Sarah Tofte

Jason Ray Gokey – Repeat Sex Offender – Pleads to 32 years


While Superior Court Judge R. Douglas Holt has given longer sentences, the 32 years he sentenced a repeat sex offender is believed to be the longest plea agreement stipulated term he’s seen.

Holt sentenced Jason Ray Gokey, 41, to serve two consecutive 16-year terms Tuesday for two counts of sexual conduct with a minor. He also sentenced him to serve a consecutive lifetime term on sexual offender probation for two counts of attempted molestation of a child.

Gokey pleaded guilty to the charges – class 2 and 3 felonies respectively – April 14. His plea agreement stipulated he would serve a 32-year sentence day for day. That means he will not be eligible to accrue time off for good behavior. He was given credit for 217 days time served. After the prosecution alerted Judge Holt that Gokey might be confused about his sentence, Holt went over the plea agreement and made sure Gokey had no questions. He then stated exactly what that meant.

“I have accepted this plea,” Holt said. “Which meant the day I accepted it, I accepted the terms. And I agreed to sentence you consistent with the plea. I felt that 32 years might be adequate for the terrible crimes that were committed on this little kid. So I’m going to give you 32 years, and there’s no discussion about it.”

Deputy Graham County Attorney C. Alan Perkins said Gokey’s sentence is substantially longer than many others with similar types of violations because he was already a convicted sex offender, and the case against him was exceptionally strong.

“Based on those reasons and, frankly, my personal conviction that Mr. Gokey represents an ongoing danger to youth in this or any community he lives in, I had to insist on a very long prison term,” Perkins said. “One that will see him behind bars for nearly all the rest of his life.”

Due to the sentencing structure of Gokey’s offenses, the term is actually slightly mitigated. The court found Gokey’s willingness to work with law enforcement and the prosecution as a mitigator. That means he will actually serve slightly less than the presumptive for his offenses.

Gokey will be 73 years old before he is let out of prison. In that event, he will be immediately placed on sex offender probation for the rest of his life with all the standard stipulations that go with it.

The mother of the victim said Gokey preyed on their already broken family, which had given him a roof over his head when he had nowhere else to go. She said she is left to pick up the pieces of the many lives he shattered with his actions.

“You may be facing a long time in prison, but I can assure you that the victims you have left behind are the ones who have a life sentence as they will never forget the hurt you have caused them,” she said.

Gokey apologized to his victims before Judge Holt pronounced the sentence.

He agreed that he needed to go to prison and hoped that he will respond to treatment for his sickness.

“25% of all sex offenders re-offend within 15 years”
………Sarah Tofte

Jack Louis Sporich – Repeat Sex Offender – Escaped Civil Confinement by legal maneuvers – Busted in Cambodia

The 74-year-old retired engineer appeared to have escaped his past, which included his classification as one of California’s most dangerous sex offenders, one who authorities suspect may have molested more than 500 young boys over the years.

He once complained that California had violated his civil rights by committing him to Atascadero for 39 months after he had completed his prison sentence.

Sporich’s case was highlighted in The Bee’s series, which revealed that it was far easier for offenders to win release from Atascadero by refusing treatment than by undergoing the lengthy treatment program designed to prevent them from reoffending.

Jack Louis Sporich was living an idyllic retirement, splitting his time between a luxury condo in Sedona, Ariz., and a sprawling home he was having built in a tourist mecca in Cambodia.

The 74-year-old retired engineer appeared to have escaped his past, which included his classification as one of California’s most dangerous sex offenders, one who authorities suspect may have molested more than 500 young boys over the years.

Now, officials say Sporich, who won his release from Atascadero State Hospital in May 2004 without spending a single day in treatment, may have reoffended.

He has been charged in Cambodia with indecent acts against minors in a case involving four young Cambodian boys, according to an official in Phnom Penh whose organization helped investigate Sporich.

Cambodian news accounts of his arrest indicate Sporich denied the allegations, which included the claim that he lured the children – ages 9 to 13 – to his home with toys and candies. The Cambodia Daily reported that he also attracted youngsters by dropping dollar bills in the street.

He was arrested Feb. 2 and remains in custody in the tourist town of Siem Reap, according to Seila Samleang, executive director of Action Pour Les Enfants-Cambodia.

APLE-Cambodia is a non-governmental organization that works closely with Cambodian police to target foreign pedophiles who exploit youngsters in that country, and Sporich had been under investigation by the group.

Samleang said in an e-mail to The Bee on Tuesday that the charges are misdemeanors punishable by a prison sentence of one to three years. Sexual exploitation of children has been a problem for years in Cambodia, where the age of consent is 15.

Todd Melnik, the defense attorney who won Sporich’s release from Atascadero, said he knew nothing of the Cambodia charges. An e-mail to Sporich this week seeking comment did not receive a response.

Sporich is no stranger to charges of sex with children.

He spent nine years in prison after his conviction in Ventura County on seven counts of lewd acts upon children under 14. Then, he was committed to Atascadero State Hospital as a “sexually violent predator” deemed too dangerous to be released upon completion of his sentence.

David Lehr, a Ventura County defense attorney who originally prosecuted Sporich, said he may have had as many as 500 victims, and that he typically befriended boys through their parents and offered to take them on camping trips.

The parents frequently would pay Sporich for his gas and the time he spent on the trips, Lehr said last week.

“If I had to pick from a list of former and current SVPs, he would be, by far, the first one I would be most concerned about,” Lehr said in an interview for a 2006 series of stories in The Bee about sexually violent predators.

Sporich was released from Atascadero in May 2004, after two juries were unable to agree on whether he would re-offend, and he immediately moved to Arizona, where the only requirement he faced was that he register as a sex offender once a year.

He is not listed on the current sex offender registry maintained by the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

Sporich’s case was highlighted in The Bee’s series, which revealed that it was far easier for offenders to win release from Atascadero by refusing treatment than by undergoing the lengthy treatment program designed to prevent them from reoffending.

Since the treatment program began 13 years ago, 17 offenders have won release by undergoing all or some of the required programs, and none has reoffended, the state says.

By contrast, 155 others – including Sporich – have been released through court orders.

After The Bee’s series, lawmakers introduced a number of proposed improvements to the system and voters later that year overwhelmingly approved Proposition 83.

That measure increased prison sentences for habitual and violent offenders and did away with the requirement that sexually violent predators be allowed a trial every two years. Instead, they now can petition annually for a hearing, but the burden of proof is on them to convince a court they no longer pose a threat.

In an interview for The Bee’s 2006 series, Sporich said he felt remorse for his actions and complained that California had violated his civil rights by committing him to Atascadero for 39 months after he had completed his prison sentence.

He also boasted of his photographic excursions to Southeast Asia, and showed off a photo on the wall of his Sedona condo of the bare bottom of a preschool-aged boy urinating in public.

Family members say that in recent years Sporich married a 23-year-old Southeast Asian woman with several small children and that he had begun building a large home in Cambodia.

June Caine, Sporich’s older sister, said he met the woman, a waitress, overseas after leaving her a $100 tip. Caine said the family had known for years of Sporich’s past and had hoped he would seek treatment.

“I don’t want him out anymore,” she said. “I think he’s sick, and he’s never going to get well. I don’t want this to go on.”

“25% of all sex offenders re-offend within 15 years”
………Sarah Tofte

Article

Donald Bruce Vechik – Repeat Sex Offender – Child Predator

A 59-year-old Placer County man with a history of child molestation was convicted by a jury today on four felony counts of committing lewd acts upon a 6-year-old girl.

Donald Bruce Vechik is now facing 25 years to life in state prison when he returns for sentencing before Placer County Superior Court Judge Mark S. Curry on July 17, according to Art Campos, Placer County District Attorney public information officer.

Placer County prosecutors Jennifer Miszkewycz and Jeff Wood said evidence in the case showed that Vechik, who served a prison sentence for a similar crime in Kern County, befriended a woman and her six-year-old daughter in the Cisco Grove area in 2008.

Vechik and the woman were neighbors at a motel and the defendant offered to watch the daughter and to give her rides to school.

However, school officials checked out a report about the defendant’s background and discovered that he was a registered sex offender, Miszkewycz said.

The county’s Child Protective Services investigated and subsequent interviews with the child indicated that she had been inappropriately touched by the defendant, Miszkewycz said.

During the trial, Vechik’s attorney tried to convince the jury that there were inconsistencies in the child’s interviews with the investigators and in her testimony on the witness stand.

However, co-prosecutor Wood maintained in his closing statement that the girl’s story about the inappropriate touching had remained fairly consistent throughout the investigation and the trial.

Vechik was prosecuted on five charges of lewd conduct upon the child. The jury found him not guilty on one of the counts.

The jury also found that two special allegations — that the defendant committed the lewd acts with a prior sex offense and that he had served prison time — were true, enhancing the amount of prison time he will serve, Miszkewycz said.

“25% of all sex offenders re-offend within 15 years”
………Sarah Tofte

Norman Vivian Pearce – calculated, sinister and hedonistic Pedophile

ONE of the victims of a serial pedophile yelled “die in hell, you f–king dog” as his tormentor was today led away to begin his minimum 10-year jail term.

The raw outburst, from the gallery of the District Court, capped of a saga of grooming and deviancy that saw eight boys molested by Norman Vivian Pearce over two decades.

In sentencing today, Judge Paul Rice said Pearce’s offending was “calculated, sinister and hedonistic”.

He said Pearce made himself “attractive and exciting by having flash cars” before plying the boys with fast food and alcohol.

His abuse of the trust of his victims and their families caused psychological and psychiatric damage, and led to them having problems developing long-lasting relationships.

“There is no doubt that your offending has had a profound and long-lasting effect on your victims,” the judge said.

Pearce, 70, of Woodville South, was last year convicted of 18 child sex offences that occurred in two periods during the early 1980s and 1990s.

All but one of the offences occured while he was involved with youth groups, including the Naval Cadets.

The remaining offence occurred while Pearce was working as a flight service manager at Adelaide Airport – he was his victim’s supervisor.

Today, Judge Rice said he doubted Pearce’s level of remorse, given he had denied the crimes at trial, and noted his prospects for rehabilitation were “unknown”.

He said Pearce’s lack of criminal history was “of little benefit” because his offending spanned two periods in time.

“The years in between were an opportunity for reflection on your previous offending,” Judge Rice said.

He sentenced Pearce to 14 years’ jail, with a 10-year non-parole period.

“25% of all sex offenders re-offend within 15 years”
………Sarah Tofte

Jonathan Then – The Boy Raping Nanny

He wanted to be a teacher and was majoring in early childhood education.

Jonathan Then, 20, a student at Hunter College, now faces up to life in prison on charges that he raped and sexually abused three young boys for whom he was a live-in nanny.

Then, who worked as a nanny for as many as 20 families in the Brooklyn, Manhattan and New Jersey area, was arrested Thursday at the college and is being held without bail on charges that include predatory sexual assault against a child. Then has worked in youth sports leagues and at numerous summer camps.

Prosecutors say that Then has also admitted possessing child pornography. Last month, he was charged with child molestation in Brooklyn and had been free after posting $10,000 bail.

“Unfortunately this investigation is far from over”, prosecutor Rachel Ferrari told Judge Kevin McGrath in Manhattan Supreme Court. “In additon to babysitting for numerous families, the defendant has had access to hundreds of other young boys in the last several years throughout New York City and beyond.”

According to the Manhattan DA’s office, Then molested an eight-year-old boy on five separate times at an East 78th Street location between Jan. 1 and March 31. Then also molested another eight-year-old bout at least six times between Jan. 1 and April 15, according to prosecutors.

According to the criminal complaint filed, Then also raped a 10-year-old boy on three separate occasions between Jan. 1 and Feb. 25.

The district attorney’s office said anybody with information about Then should call a special hotline number, 212-335-4308. 5-08-09

“25% of all sex offenders re-offend within 15 years”
………Sarah Tofte

Neil Strachan – Repeat Sex Offender – Scottish Mom calls for Mark’s Law

Strachan, from Edinburgh, was a trusted friend of the boy’s family. What they did not know was he had already served a three-year jail term for repeatedly molesting another child.


Neil Strachan was being monitored by police and social workers when he sexually abused the 18-month-old boy he was babysitting. The child’s mother is demanding an inquiry

A MOTHER told last night of the devastation wreaked on her family by a convicted child molester, and said she dreaded the day she would have to explain to her son about the horrific abuse he suffered.

Speaking publicly for the first time, the mother of the boy who was abused by Neil Strachan when he was only 18 months old opened her heart and told of the trauma of learning her son could have been infected with HIV.

She also demanded an inquiry into how the registered sex offender was able to carry out the abuse and called for a new law to ensure parents were informed if sexual predators could have access to their children.

The woman wants to know how a man who was being monitored by police and social workers was allowed to prey on her son. He distributed an image of himself abusing the boy while he was babysitting him over Hogmanay in 2005.

The 41-year-old was convicted of a string of lewd and libidinous acts on children on Thursday, after a nine-week trial that saw eight men found guilty of a catalogue of child abuse charges.

Strachan, from Edinburgh, was a trusted friend of the boy’s family. What they did not know was he had already served a three-year jail term for repeatedly molesting another child.

The woman, who cannot be named to protect the identity of her children, talked of the terrible impact the crimes had had on her family, and of her anguish at learning that the man she had trusted enough to let him look after her two children was a child molester who was HIV positive.

The woman went on: “The police say (Strachan] was being supervised. But that’s rubbish – how could he have been?”

Her comments have reignited the debate over the extent to which parents should be informed if convicted sex offenders are living in their area.

The move has been dubbed “Mark’s Law”, after Mark Cummings, eight, who was murdered by Stuart Leggate, a convicted sex offender. The boy’s mother launched a campaign for the sharing of information about known paedophiles.

Lothian and Borders Police said they were satisfied Strachan had been monitored “appropriately”. But last night – as the force refused to disclose details of a review into the case or comment on reports that Strachan had been visited by child protection officers only three times a year – the mother accused police of “brushing the matter under the carpet”.

She said: “I just couldn’t believe it when I found out he was a child molester. I couldn’t take it in. It’s left me completely numb.

“They couldn’t have been monitoring him. If they had been monitoring him properly, they would have known he could have come into contact with my boy. They would have contacted me to say, ‘ Strachan’s a sex offender – be careful what you do with your children’.

“Strachan couldn’t have been monitored. It’s absolute rubbish to say they did. I think there should be an investigation.”

Strachan and the seven other members of what police say was Scotland’s biggest paedophile ring have yet to be sentenced, but the mother said no punishment could compensate for the abuse.

“It doesn’t matter how long he is jailed for. He might spend the next 15 years in prison, but what’s to stop him going out and re- offending again?”

She told how Strachan had befriended her family and been regarded as a “really caring, loving person”, and went on: “I still cannot believe it, I just cannot take it in. He came across as someone who would do anything to help you – anything.

“He’s ruined my life and he’s ruined my mum’s life. She’s devastated.”

She said she feared the effect the abuse will have on her boy, now four, in the future.

“I dread the day I have to tell him what happened,” she said. “My boy seems fine now. But maybe we’ll have to wait until he’s older before we find out how it’s affected him.

Justice secretary Kenny MacAskill, who will today visit police officers who ran the investigation that has uncovered a total of 70 suspected paedophiles, said lessons had to be learned.

“I’m assured that any operational issues that emerge will be shared with agencies across Scotland. The public would expect nothing less,” he said.

He added that Strachan’s crimes predated new multi-agency protection arrangements designed to improve the risk assessment and monitoring of sex offenders after they have been released from prison.

Mr MacAskill recently announced plans for a pilot project that would allow parents or guardians to seek a disclosure check against someone who has access to their children.

Opposition politicians back the move – but want ministers to go further.

Scottish Conservative leader Annabel Goldie said: “The Scottish Government should use GPS satellite tracking to monitor sex offenders released from prison. And it should consider using lie detector tests on paedophiles as part of their probation conditions if they are released from prison.”

Labour’s justice spokesman Richard Baker said: “We welcome the pilot scheme, but that should not necessarily be the end of the matter.”

A MOTHER’S FIGHT FOR ‘MARK’S LAW’

THE mother of a Glasgow boy murdered by a convicted child molester has spearheaded a campaign for new laws to inform members of the public of paedophiles who pose a risk to their children.

Margaret Ann Cummings has fought for the introduction of “Mark’s Law” following the 2004 murder of her eight-year-old son, Mark Cummings, by convicted sex offender Stuart Leggate, who lived in the same tower block.

None of the residents in the block in Royston, Glasgow, was told when Leggate moved in that he had a criminal record.

Campaigners for a new “Mark’s Law” had called for a total disclosure of names of anyone on the sexual offenders register.

In 2005, Ms Cummings delivered a 6,000-signature petition to the Scottish Parliament calling on politicians to investigate whether such a law should be passed. She also urged the then Scottish Executive to introduce changes to the way sex offenders were supervised and monitored.

But Kenny MacAskill, the justice secretary, has refused to offer blanket disclosure on all known paedophiles because he claimed this would drive them underground, making them a greater risk.

However, last weekend, he announced the setting up of a pilot scheme that would give parents the right to know whether someone who had regular contact with their children was a sex offender.

But it is highly unlikely such a law would have protected the children abused by Neil Strachan and James Rennie, the leaders of a paedophile ring convicted on Thursday, as the victims’ parents regarded them as good friends.

THAT IS BECAUSE THEY DID NOT KNOW

It is scenarios such as these that ensure pressure for wider disclosure laws will continue.

Managing of sex offenders

REGISTERED sex offenders are required by law to inform police about their personal circumstances.

These include notifying the police of their name and address, date of birth, national insurance number, any change of address and periods of a stay away from home.

Police and social workers also seek to minimise the risk of paedophiles striking again by drawing up their own monitoring plans.

This includes regular visits to their homes and case conferences to discuss any concerns.

But the job of managing sex offenders is much easier if they are sentenced to more than four years in prison. That is because they can then be held subject to licence conditions that impose restrictions on their behaviour – such as staying away from children.

For sex offenders released after short prison sentences, little can be done to compel them, for example, to live far from a school.

Police already have the power to notify individuals if they consider a sex offender poses a risk. And they often use the threat of disclosure to influence a sex offender’s behaviour.

A source said: “If a convicted paedophile begins a relationship, for example, with a single mother, the police might warn him he has 48 hours to tell her about his past – or they’ll sit down with her for a cup of tea and a chat.”

However, some of the supervision was ad hoc, poorly co-ordinated and ill-informed.

In April 2007, Scottish police forces, social work departments and prisons were required to implement new arrangements to manage dangerous offenders in the community.

Mappa – multi-agency public protection arrangement – rules had already been introduced in England and Wales.

“25% of all sex offenders re-offend within 15 years”
………Sarah Tofte

Dennis Moeller – Internet Predator – Guilty

“You have shown worrying patience and determination in your efforts to gain the trust of vulnerable young men for your own sexual purpose.”

“You are truly a sexual predator.”


A SEXUAL predator who abducted two boys after meeting them via the internet, has been jailed for four and a half years.

Dennis Moeller used chatrooms to talk to the youngsters, one of whom was from Blackpool, gaining their trust and confidence.

He then met up with them and took them for a ride in his car without their parents’ permission.

The youngster from Blackpool was given alcohol and a mobile phone at Moeller’s flat before being taken back to the Fylde.

The German born 29 year old, from Salford, had claimed he was merely a good Samaritan, wanting to help young people.

But sentencing him to a prison term, Judge Heather Lloyd labelled Moeller a predator and said she was gravely concerned that he had no insight into what he had done.

She told the defendant: “If you were truly concerned about any of these children, social services would have been your first port of call, or at the very least, face to face meetings with the parents.

“You have shown worrying patience and determination in your efforts to gain the trust of vulnerable young men for your own sexual purpose.”

“You are truly a sexual predator.”

Moeller maintained at his trial he had had no sexual interest in the young men, but had merely wanted to help them.

He suggested he had a social work background but provided no evidence he was qualified, or he had done social work.

He had spoken of having a professional interest in street children in Hamburg and Berlin.

A 13-year-old Darwen boy had also agreed to meet up with him and was driven in the direction of Manchester, before being taken back to East Lancashire.

Moeller even called at a police station to “cover his back”, regarding the boy being away from his mother for the night.

He told police he had returned the boy.

A third young man had been at Moeller’s home where he woke one morning to find the defendant sexually touching him.

Mr Mark Le Brocq, defending, said none of the boys had been harmed. The two boys taken for a ride were not molested and were unconcerned. One even stayed overnight at his home.

Moeller was convicted of three charges of abduction, two of sexual grooming and one of sexual assault.

He was also placed on the Sex Offenders Register for life.

He will be banned from working with children indefinitely and made the subject to a Sexual Offences Prevention Order.

“25% of all sex offenders re-offend within 15 years”
………Sarah Tofte

Daniel Acker – Serial Pedophile – Preyed on boys over 30 years

“He preyed on at-risk boys, those with no strong father figure in their lives,” Wentlandt said. “We believe we’ve only scratched the surface in people we’ve talked to.”

The first accuser came forward after he saw Acker walking into an area middle school, Wentlandt said. The victim contacted the recreation department, saying he couldn’t believe Acker was still working there with young children.

A 61-year-old man who works as a part-time aquatics program coordinator for the West Allis-West Milwaukee Recreation Department was in jail Thursday, suspected of sexually assaulting young boys for more than 30 years, authorities said.

Daniel Acker of Waukesha was arrested Monday during a swim practice at West Milwaukee Middle School, said Deputy Inspector Bradley Wentlandt of the Greenfield Police Department. Acker is suspected of assaulting boys between the ages of 7 and 15 from the 1970s to 2008, police said.

Acker is suspected in hundreds of assaults involving dozens of children over the years, police said. Some of the assaults are alleged to have occurred in Greenfield.

Daniel Acker’s obsession with missing children and a “strange infatuation with child murders” prompted Greenfield police to ask federal investigators to see whether there are ties between the man accused of dozens of sexual assaults and children who have disappeared since the 1970s, a Greenfield police investigator said Friday.

Police who searched the basement of 61-year-old Acker’s Waukesha home this week found a model police station, featuring a dozen photos of abducted and murdered children pasted to the inside walls; journals with hundreds of pages written on Jacob Wetterling and John Zera, a boy abducted and found dead in Whitnall Park in 1975; and 1970s model cars with the names and dates of death of abducted and murdered children written by Acker on the bottom.

There is no information right now to suggest that Acker is a suspect in any of the killings, but evidence has been turned over to the FBI and other local police agencies for further investigation, Deputy Inspector Bradley Wentlandt of the Greenfield Police Department said in a news conference Friday morning.

Acker in the 1970’s

FBI spokesman Leonard Peace said the bureau is assisting in the case. He said he could not comment further because it is an open investigation.

A prosecutor with the U.S. Attorney’s Office is reviewing the Acker case, said Paul Kanter, chief of the criminal division.

Acker in the 1980’s

“The FBI has been in touch with us,” Kanter said. “At this point in time we have not identified any federal crime.”

Acker remains locked up in Milwaukee County Jail while a team of Greenfield police continue their work into allegations that started on Monday accusing him of sexually assaulting boys between the ages of 7 and 15 going back to the 1970s.

“He preyed on at-risk boys, those with no strong father figure in their lives,” Wentlandt said. “We believe we’ve only scratched the surface in people we’ve talked to.”

Police held the news conference Friday to see whether other accusers will come forward in light of the news released Thursday that Acker, who works as a part-time aquatics program coordinator for the West Allis-West Milwaukee Recreation Department, had been jailed on suspicion of sexually assaulting young boys for more than 30 years.

Acker in the 1990’s

Acker was arrested Monday during a swim practice at West Milwaukee Middle School after a man in his 40s told police Monday that Acker had sexually assaulted him from 1971 to 1976, when he was between 11 and 15 years old. Since then, at least three other men in their 40s – including one who now lives in Tennessee – and a 19-year-old have told police they had been sexually assaulted by Acker when they were minors, Wentlandt said.

The first accuser came forward after he saw Acker walking into an area middle school, Wentlandt said. The victim contacted the recreation department, saying he couldn’t believe Acker was still working there with young children.

Acker was arrested in the hours after police received a tip from Michele Strasser, coordinator of recreation for West Allis-West Milwaukee.

Strasser said Friday: “Myself, our staff, our whole community, this has taken a toll. Kids are the most important to us and their safety.”

The statute of limitations in child sexual assault cases that was in place in the 1970s may prevent authorities from being able to prosecute those cases, Wentlandt said. The statute of limitations in such cases has since been extended.

But the 19-year-old told police that Acker has assaulted him starting about five years ago and that the two remained in a relationship as of earlier this week, Wentlandt said. Police are trying to see whether there are other younger victims.

Wentlandt said Acker didn’t have any of his own children, but said he had three foster children – all boys – that he had cared for during the past decade. Police are trying to make contact with those former foster children, Wentlandt said.

“We believe we’ve only scratched the surface with the victims we’ve talked to already,” Wentlandt said. “We believe there are more victims out there.”

Police are asking those victims to call investigators at (414) 761-5301.

As of 2 p.m. Friday, at least 50 callers had phoned Greenfield Police to share what they know, to suggest potential victims or to talk about being victimized by Acker.

Within moments of news reports featuring four decades of photos of the Acker, calls were coming in at one per minute at the department, where seven sworn officers and detectives have been assigned to answer those calls specifically. Wentlandt said calls are continuing to come in this afternoon at 3 to 4 per hour.

“We will have people throughout the rest of the night and tomorrow and the next day, if necessary,” said Greenfield Deputy Inspector Bradley Wentlandt. “We don’t want to take messages. If someone gets the courage to call in, we want to make sure it’s taken by an investigator who can get the right information.”

A number of people contacted the Journal Sentinel Friday to say their children were or had been students of Acker’s.

Angie Aide of West Allis said she had to tell her daughter about Acker this morning at breakfast.

“My heart just dropped,” Aide said. Her 8-year-old daughter took swimming classes with Acker for two years. Acker substituted as an instructor for Aide’s daughter just last week.

Acker played dodge ball with the kids. He’d joke with them when they sprayed water on him with pool noodles. “The parents got a chuckle out if it,” Aide said. And Acker would talk to the kids “on their level.”

Aide said she always sat in the bleachers at the recreation center when Acker taught classes. When the kids were told “Mr. Dan” would be teaching the classes, they would cheer, Aide said.

Melissa Luck of West Allis said that as a swim instructor, Acker had a great rapport with children, especially with her 5-year-old daughter, Taylor, who took a class with him last fall.

“My daughter loved him, loved him, told him she loved him all the time,” she said.

Luck, who said she herself was molested as a child by someone she knew, now worries about the many youths who took group or private lessons with Acker and the teens who helped him teach swimming.

She also said the news of his arrest has been hard on Taylor.

“She said Momma, Mr. Dan broke my heart,” Luck said.