Operation Broken Heart: 51 arrested in Texas after child sex crime ring and 'plot to make babies' is exposed
Authorities have arrested 51 people in relation to an online child sex abuse ring operating in three Texas counties. The ones arrested also include public servants. The ICAC Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force posed as underage children online in the operation called Operation Broken Heart. The sting operation covered Harris, Fort Bend, and Montgomery counties of Houston.
Operation Broken Heart was a joint effort between the Houston Police Department, the Harris County Sheriff's Office, Montgomery County Sheriff's Office, and various constable offices. Police revealed how one suspect planned to use children as breeders for babies that their assaulters could then make money off. "A suspect traveled all the way from California here to Houston, where he met his victim and sexually assaulted her," said Sgt. Luis Menedez-Sierra of Houston police. "This is not a local crime, this is not something just related to your next door neighbor, or one town away. This is a nationwide issue.”
A suspect named Christopher Lakner, a 26-year-old male was caught after he came to the place where he was supposed to meet a 14-year-old girl. It was one of the minors the ICAC agents had been posing as. "During chats, he tried to convince undercover personnel he thought was a teenage girl to help kidnap children from area parks, breed them to make babies," said Harris County Precinct 1 Constable Alan Rosen.
However, Lakner's defense attorney Brian Roberts told ABC News that the police were trying to jeopardize his client's trial. "The Harris County District Attorney’s Office has done nothing to curb the rash of incendiary public statements by local law enforcement officials, which violate the rights of defendants whose cases are still pending trial," the defense attorney said. "This is an example of a public official furthering his political ambitions on the back of my client and it cannot continue unaddressed and without potential legal sanctions." He also added that Constable Rosen's statements "are a violation of my client’s constitutional and civil rights. They may deprive him of his right to a fair trial."
According to a statement by the Department of Justice in June last year, more than 2,300 suspected online child sex offenders were arrested during a three-month, nationwide, operation conducted by Internet Crimes Against Children task forces. The task forces identified 195 offenders who either produced child pornography or committed child sexual abuse, and 383 children who suffered recent, ongoing, or historical sexual abuse or production of child pornography.
Even in Louisiana officials arrested 62 people accused of child pornography and child sexual abuse, in a statewide law enforcement effort between March and May. Attorney General Jeff Landry’s office announced the arrests Wednesday at an event with federal, state and local agencies. Arrests around Louisiana included for possession, distribution and production of child pornography and other crimes involving the sexual exploitation of children.