AURORA | Investigators with the Aurora Police Department helped identify or arrest more than three dozen suspected child predators from Aurora earlier this spring as part of a nationwide sting led by the U.S. Department of Justice, authorities announced Tuesday.
Throughout April and May, Aurora officials helped investigate and in some cases apprehend 38 men accused of various felony charges, including internet luring of a child, internet sexual exploitation of a child, and attempted sexual assault on a child, among others.
The local suspects were among nearly 1,700 people nationwide who were arrested as part of a Justice Department investigation known as Operation Broken Heart, according to Aurora police. More than 4,500 agencies in every state coordinated to investigate and arrest the suspected predators, according to the Justice Department. The Colorado Springs Police Department worked with more than 90 local law enforcement groups, including Aurora police, to lead Colorado’s internet crimes against children task force.
“The sexual abuse of children is repugnant, and it victimizes the most innocent and vulnerable of all,” U.S. Attorney General William Barr said in a statement issued last month. “ … Over the span of just two months, our ICAC task forces investigated more than 18,000 complaints of internet-related abuse and helped arrest 1,700 alleged abusers.”
The nationwide investigation identified more than 300 people who produced child pornography or committed child sexual abuse, according to the DOJ. Investigators determined more than 350 children were abused or exploited in the making of child pornography.
One of the suspected predators in Aurora, 34-year-old Christopher Doughty, worked as a bus driver for the Cherry Creek School District for nearly two years. Aurora police arrested Doughty on suspicion of luring a child over the internet in May.
“We strongly urge all parents, and guardians to know who your children are talking to in person and online,” police wrote on Facebook. “Being nosey can protect them from predators and becoming victimized.”
People who believe they or someone they know may have been approached by one of the 38 suspects arrested in Aurora are encouraged to call Aurora Police Sgt. Gregg Galozzi at 303-739-6093. Victims can also call 303-627-3100 for additional local resources.
There are nearly 1,200 sex offenders currently being monitored by Aurora police in the city, according to a database of metro area sex offenders managed by the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office. However, only 790 of the people on the database are named and pictured due to state privacy laws. Anyone seeking the full list of Aurora’s sexual predators is encouraged to request the complete record from the Aurora Police Department.
Residents wishing to search the list of nearly 800 named sex offenders in the city can do so by visiting sotar.us. The Colorado Bureau of Investigation also maintains a searchable database of the state’s sex offenders.