Covering Louisiana

Nov 1, 2013 1:56 PM by AP

Ouachita sheriff launches Special Victims Unit

MONROE, La. (AP) - Ouachita Parish Sheriff Jay Russell has created a Special Victims Unit that will investigate sex crimes in the area.

Russell says the establishment of the new office comes on the heels of federal charges filed against a Downsville man for possession and receipt of child pornography.

Russell tells The News-Star the new unit will investigate Internet crimes against children, child prostitution, sex/human trafficking, sexual abuse, fraud and sex offender registration.

"This is important because we are seeing around the country today that young females are being enticed into sexual assaults by child predators throughout this country. We don't want that to happen here in Ouachita Parish," he said.

The unit will also provide free training to parents, teachers and youths about dangers on the Internet, characteristics of child sexual predators and how to install and configure parental control features on electronic devices.

Though human trafficking reportedly hasn't occurred in Ouachita Parish, Russell's hope is community education about how child predators use the Internet will help prevent it from happening.

The unit will work alongside the FBI task force to pursue predators targeting Ouachita Parish residents.

Some officers already performing similar duties will be folded into the new unit. It will be headed by senior investigator John Asmussen, who will work alongside two local and one federal investigator will focus on Internet crimes.

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