Police: Man used Skype to transfer child porn - WNEM TV 5

Police: Man used Skype to transfer child porn

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Jonathan Southwell (Source: Genesee County Jail) Jonathan Southwell (Source: Genesee County Jail)
GENESEE COUNTY, MI (WNEM) -

A warning from police: If you use the internet for illegal activity, expect a knock on your door.

Investigators said 36-year-old Jonathan Southwell of Genesee Township used a video chat service to delve into child porn. He’s charged with possession and distribution of child pornography, as well as using a computer to commit a crime.

“He did have some pretty horrendous pictures and videos of children engaged in sex acts,” an investigator said.

Police call the child pornography underworld a very sinister place.

The victims are children and the sexually abusive material has been distributed under the radar.

"It's a sad world we live in nowadays where we have to worry about predators being able to access our children being on the internet,” Pegg Paupst said.

However, web sites some predators are using to transfer the explicit images are cracking down to help police get the bad guys off the streets.

Detective David Vergison worked Southwell’s case. He said Southwell used Skype to exchange files of underage children involved in sexual acts.

"Skype essentially initiated the entire investigation, which really got the ball rolling,” Vergison said.

Vergison said websites such as Skype, Facebook and Google are using technology to find illegal images and report them to law enforcement.

"It's a huge help. Obviously we wouldn't know half of what goes on, on the internet without the assistance of those companies, and it generally initiates quite a few of our investigations,” Vergison said.

TV5 reached out to those web companies.

Facebook said they have technology that scans every photo or video uploaded that can recognize illicit material.

If images are found, they report them to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children who will then notify police.

Many agree, stopping the predators is a priority.

"Whatever can be done, I think should be done. And if police can be involved and anything we can do to help them get these people off the streets is something we should look into,” Paupst said.

To learn more about stopping child sexual abuse at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, click here.

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