Jesup man charged with sexual exploitation of a minor - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Jesup man charged with child exploitation

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JESUP, GA (WTOC) -

On Friday, Stephen A. Keating, 52, of Jesup, was charged by criminal complaint on a charge of sexual exploitation of a minor. His initial court appearance was held Friday morning in federal court before U.S. Magistrate Judge James E. Graham. He was not granted bond. Keating's detention hearing will held before Judge Graham on Nov. 19.

"Child exploitation, often over the internet, has reached epidemic proportions. This disturbing development demands we act with the full force of the Department and its many law enforcement partners. We will settle for nothing less than reducing incidents of child exploitation and bringing justice to those who would steal the innocence of our nation's children," United States Attorney Edward J. Tarver said in a press release. 

"HSI will never relent in our efforts to identify and arrest child predators who terrorize and exploit the most vulnerable members of our community," said Brock D. Nicholson, special agent in charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations Atlanta office, in a press release. "These monsters living among us inflict the most unimaginable harm upon the innocent to satisfy their perverse desires, and we will continue to find them and bring them to justice."

The charge against Keating comes from an investigation led by ICE HSI with assistance from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Field Operations in Savannah, CBP Air and Marine Operations in Jacksonville, Fla., and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

According to Tarver, a charge is only an accusation and is not evidence of guilt. He says the defendant is entitled to a fair trail, during which it will be the government's burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

According to Tarver, the case was brought on as part of Project Safe Childhood, which is a nationwide U.S. Department of Justice initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Project Safe Childhood, which is led by the United States Attorney's Office, uses federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children on the internet, as well as identify and rescue victims.

Assistant United States Attorney Jennifer Solari will be prosecuting the case. 

Copyright 2012 WTOC. All rights reserved.

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