Plymouth Teen Faces 13 Charges Of Child Porn

Police Began Investigating Suspect When He Was 16 Years Old

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — An 18-year-old Plymouth man is charged with sharing child pornography on social media and email.

The case is one of many keeping law enforcement busy across the state.

Tips to the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension about suspected illegal online activity involving children continues to rise.

So far this year, the BCA has received 1,660 tips.

That surpassed the 12,000 tips received in all of 2016.

In February of 2016, tips from Google led Plymouth police to a house on 43rd Place North.

By June of that year, police had a search warrant and took laptops, thumb drives and SD cards from the house.

Alec Cotter was 16 when the investigation began. He is now 18 and charged as an adult with 13 felony counts.

Investigators found more than 45,000 images. Children as young as 6 were shown in some of them.

“You’re seeing more and more people for whatever reason get involved in viewing these types of images, which makes it problematic,” said Kyle Loven, the national director of Computer Forensic Service in Minnetonka.

Loven has 22 years of law enforcement experience, the past 13 spent as chief division council for the FBI.

He says the rise in child porn cases is disturbing.

“The problem is perhaps proliferating, but law enforcement is right on the heels of some of these folks who are engage in these activities,” Loven said.

The BCA says it sees lots of tips coming in from specific platforms like Google, ChatStep, DropBox, and Pinterest.

“With the sophisticated methods of law enforcement gaining steam and gaining momentum, law enforcement is much more capable of finding out who is doing this and much more capable of apprehending them,” Loven said.

Some experts say the rise in child porn is partly because of the ability to cheaply store lots of data.

Loven says Computer Forensic Services is working with 38 law enforcement agencies across the state to close in on those trying to exploit the most vulnerable.

Cotter is expected to make his first court appearance Nov. 16.

The BCA says the best way to protect your children from predators is to make sure you are aware of what they do online and they know to come to you if someone asks them to share personal images.

More from Reg Chapman
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