Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Members Honored
Melbourne-based Community Champions lends its voice of congratulations to honors bestowed upon several members of the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office, recently recognized for their outstanding contributions to child safety during ceremonies held in Tallahassee.
As part of “Missing Children’s Day,” Brevard County Sheriff’s Office Agent Mike Spadafora was honored in November as the state’s “Local Law Enforcement Officer of the Year.” Additionally, Spadafora, along with BCSO team members Lt. Rob Vitaliano, Agent Alex Sorokin and Agent Aja Stake were honored as the Sunshine State’s “Task Force/Team of the Year.” The individual and team recognition stemmed directly from the agency’s exemplary work in the areas of investigative and legislative initiatives directly related to child pornography and Internet crimes against children—two issues strongly supported by parent Company Community Champions and two of its subsidiaries.
“Missing Children’s Day” is designed to create and maintain public awareness about Florida’s missing children and to help educate the public on child safety, abduction prevention, and the exploitation and sex trafficking of children.
Spadafora’s individual honor came as he spearheaded an investigation involving the international travel of a child predator who made his way from Switzerland to Brevard County for the purposes of sexually abusing a minor child. The result of the investigation led to the suspect’s arrest and ultimate conviction, resulting in a life sentence for the perpetrator.
Legislative Accomplishments Lauded
Task Force/Team of the Year agents Vitaliano, Spadafora, Sorokin and Stake were lauded for their outstanding law enforcement contributions in helping shape and change legislation that closed loopholes in existing state law regarding subpoena power as a tool to help fight against Internet identity concealment of those who use technology for the purposes of committing sexual offenses.
Their work, along with local business support and sustained legislative push from Community Champions subsidiaries INTELLEO (Intelligent Solutions for Law Enforcement—a local law enforcement provider) and B.A.C.E. (Businesses Against Child Exploitation—a sub-committee of the Brevard County Public Safety Charity), helped pave the way for a pair of bills passed by the Florida Legislature during the 2018 Spring Session. Concurrent Senate Bill 618 and House Bill 581 became law on Oct. 1 this year. Both are designed to provide law enforcement with two more tools that help peel back the Internet Anonymity of those using technology to perpetrate crimes of a sexual nature. The new laws also provide for judicial review of nondisclosure requirements with the ability of courts to punish providers of Internet services with indirect criminal contempt for failing to provide such records and evidence during the course of lawful investigations.
B.A.C.E. Efforts Supported Through Local Partnerships
Since 2016, C.J. Johnson, the founding member of Breakpoint Law firm and General Legal Counsel for Community Champions companies, has been working diligently with the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office Special Victim’s Unit, Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey, RSA Consulting and state lawmakers to help author and get the bills passed.
INTELLEO President and Community Champions Director Tom Darnell expressed his appreciation and admiration for this year’s state law enforcement honorees.
“We are fortunate to have the law enforcement leadership of Sheriff Wayne Ivey and appreciative of the outstanding efforts of agents Spadafora, Vitaliano, Sorokin, Stake and other law enforcement personnel who work diligently to protect our children and our Brevard County Communities. The Internet has become an unwitting tool for those who prey on our most precious resources and law enforcement is constantly pressed to go above and beyond to stay ahead of the curve. These officers have risen to that challenge.”
Darnell pledged the continued support of Community Champions, INTELLEO, and B.A.C.E to press the fight against high tech criminals.
“We’ve made progress in fighting criminals who use technology and the two new pieces of legislation passed into law in October are tangible proof that public/private partnerships between law enforcement agencies and business entities like Community Champions and its subsidiaries can form strategic and supportive partnerships that result in positive outcomes for our citizens, their families and our Brevard County neighborhoods.”
About Brevard B.A.C.E
B.A.C.E. was specifically formed and designed to support the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office Internet Crimes Against Children Unit, and other law enforcement agencies, in their efforts to assist in investigating and ultimately the prosecution of such crimes by the United State’s Attorney’s Office and the Office of the State Attorney for the 18th Judicial Circuit covering Brevard and Seminole Counties.
B.A.C.E.’s business and individual membership work to attract the interest and support of similarly-minded business owners and operators to assist investigators in their critical role of combating child abuse, sexual child abuse and the exploitation of children via the Internet. One of B.A.C.E’s primary objectives is to raise monetary support and other forms of support and gifts-in-kind that permit local law enforcement to procure the technical equipment and training necessary to stay one step ahead of high tech criminals, particularly those who target children and minors.