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Cyber Lab Helps Nab 28 Pedophiles in CT
GREENWICH, CT - (AP) The FBI credits its cyber laboratory for helping indict 28 people in Connecticut who are accused of trading child pornography and being sexual predators since last year.The lab is being used by the Innocent Images Task Force, which includes personnel from the FBI, federal postal inspectors, state and local police. They use the lab for online investigations and computer examinations of child pornography trading."It's been a great tool,'' FBI agent Kathy Schumaker said. "At any one time there are hundreds of people online trading or trawling for children.''The lab, which opened in July 2004, is also used to investigate sophisticated computer crimes, such as Internet and credit card fraud, identity and intellectual property theft, and hacking. It includes computers that forensic examiners use to locate and extract evidence from computers; specialized equipment to allow agents to go under cover to target pedophiles on the Internet by posing as minors; and another computer laboratory used to train law enforcement how to conduct investigations and gather computer evidence.Schumaker, one of the lab's supervisors, said task force members receive in-depth training on all aspects of investigating computer crimes. "It's good for both sides because then they take those skills back to their departments and teach others,'' she said.The lab has been used for several recent high-profile cases, including the arrest of former Weekly Reader editor Noel Neff of Norwalk, who is accused of attempting to arrange a sexual liaison with a Boston FBI agent posing online as a teenage boy. Neff was fired from his job and has pleaded not guilty.When posing as minors or pornography peddlers, FBI agents and other task force members monitor online newsgroups and chat rooms where child pornography is traded or Web sites geared toward teens that they suspect predators trawl."I think its great that the lab is trying to catch predators,'' said Shelly Riling, aunt of a 13-year-old Christina Long of Danbury, killed in 2002 after meeting a man online. "Before what happened to Chrissie, I had no idea what happened on the Internet.''