141 arrested in California online sex abuse sting

The bust follows a rise in reports of child online sex abuse reports amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Updated: September 15, 2022 - 7:10pm

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California officials arrested 141 people across the state on Wednesday in connection with an online sex abuse ring.

The weeklong "Protect the Innocent" sting operation led to the arrest and charge of individuals from Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, Ventura, and Santa Barbara counties, according to the Washington Examiner. The Los Angeles Regional Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force led the operation.

Two individuals face charges of statutory rape, two of pimping, three of disorderly conduct, six of sexual abuse of a minor, and 18 of parole or probation violations. A further 110 face charges of possession, distribution, or manufacture of child sex abuse materials.

The bust follows a rise in reports of child online sex abuse reports amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Examiner reported. 

Authorities urged parents to be mindful of the material which their children viewed online.

"Parents are used to seeing children with an electronic device in their hands," the Los Angeles Police Department warned. "Most of the time this enriches our children's lives and helps with their education; however, parents and caregivers have to know that there can be danger awaiting their children on the internet."

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