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Crimes against children cases increasing

Updated: Thursday, November 14 2013, 04:50 PM EST

Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force asks lawmakers for more manpower

By: NEWS9 and Philip Stahl

West Virginia State Police Sgt. Scott Adams has been a trooper for 20 years. But for the last two years, he's headed up the Northern Panhandle's Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

Adams is one person handling a six-county area, and one of 14 across the state. He said numbers show that they just can't handle the workload as Internet crimes against children are increasing.

In response, last week the unit asked state lawmakers for more manpower tracking down predators.

"In the last two years, I've had approximately 100 investigations that dealt with child victims. Of those cases, I would say of each one of them has gotten the attention it deserves. But a lot of times, you aren't able to respond to them in a timely manner," Adams said.

In 2012, the 14-manned statewide unit documented 601 cases. Up until September of this year, they had already documented 407 cases.

Adams said while they take every case seriously, there are times where they need to act immediately, like this past summer when convicted murderer Sheldon Cash was found on Wheeling Island after being accused of filming a girl he sexually assaulted.

"He was arrested within six hours," Adams said.

With regard to child pornography, the cases have increased significantly since 2009. For 2013, up until September, the numbers have doubled in the last five years. The higher numbers means a backlog at the forensic lab, another reason why Adams said they need more manpower.

"For instance, if I get a case, I can now analyze the stuff myself. But not all the troopers are like that. They are sending their cases to Huntington and Morgantown, and at these places you have three civilians," Adams said.

He said the state legislature is studying the manpower issue and said he's confident they will get more help in 2014.

Stay with NEWS9 and for continuing coverage.

Crimes against children cases increasing

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