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Investigation into child abuse video continues

April 7, 2017 GMT

La PORTE — The La Porte County Sheriff’s Department stated investigations are still ongoing in regards to a video depicting child sexual abuse involving a La Porte High School student which was posted to social media on March 30.

As of Thursday, there were no charges yet filed, but Capt. Mike Kellems of the sheriff’s department said there has been progress.

“We expect to charge someone, to hold somebody accountable for it, but I don’t know how soon or when. It’s going to take time,” he said.

The matter came to light on March 30 after the video was posted and shared by a number of people across a number of internet sources, including Facebook.

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An investigation was immediately launched and both the sheriff’s department and the school sent out information both via “robo calls” to high school parents and posts online in order to warn anyone against possessing or sharing the video.

The Internet Crimes Against Children Unit was also quickly mobilized, initial efforts by the team directed at stemming further distribution of the images. Since then, investigators have been tracing the origins of the video and noting who has shared it.

“Any time you distribute pornography or child pornography, that’s going to be a part of what they track backwards. As the investigation moves forward, they obviously have to move backwards as to how this got disseminated. That’s why we put the information out right away to delete it if you have it, to not send it along,” Kellems said.

The sheriff’s department warned in an initial release that those who shared the video or possessed it could be guilty of possession and/or dissemination of child pornography, a serious crime and punishable as a felony offense.

Following this warning, some Facebook users posted their concerns by commenting that the video how shown up on their feeds and autoplayed without them clicking on it, a feature which can be disabled.

Kellems stated he could not answer 100 percent if individuals who saw the video via autoplay would be looked into during the ongoing investigation.

“I sincerely doubt if something came to you automatically, and as long as you didn’t forward it, that you would have any legal issues,” he added.