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Child Exploitation
05/08/2008

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrests suspected child abuser, focus of INTERPOL global appeal

LYON, France - Within 48 hours of INTERPOL's global appeal to the public, the prime suspect, Wayne Nelson Corliss, 58, from Union City, New Jersey, who was photographed sexually abusing young children in Southeast Asia in images distributed on the Internet was identified, located and arrested in Union City by Special Agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), based in Newark, N.J.

As a result of independent tips provided via the Internet to INTERPOL Headquarters in Lyon by three individuals living in the United States, the suspected child sex abuser targeted by INTERPOL's Operation IDent, launched May 6, was arrested in the early hours of May 8 by ICE Agents.

"Two days ago, this man's nationality, identity and location were totally unknown. All we had to go by were a series of graphic photographs in which the suspect was seen sexually abusing young children and our confidence that the public and police worldwide would once again respond to INTERPOL's call for assistance. That two days later, the primary suspect is now in custody is an outstanding achievement and a credit to the citizens, media and law enforcement worldwide who responded to INTERPOL's call," said INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble.

"The arrest made this morning by ICE agents in Newark, of a highly sought child predator suspect, is an outstanding example of international law enforcement partnership to keep children safe both in our countries and around the world," said Julie L. Myers, Homeland Security Assistant Secretary for ICE. "Their work and the incredible response from the public to INTERPOL's call for assistance made this arrest possible. All who value the safety and well-being of children should be heartened by this success."

"I commend the work of law enforcement authorities in all our member countries who were involved in this operation but especially Norway for providing us with the legal basis to launch this global appeal and to ICE agents on the ground and the U.S. National Central Bureau of INTERPOL in the U.S. for their continued efforts to help INTERPOL fight the awful crime of the sexual abuse of children worldwide. In addition, I want to once again thank the public and media for their contribution because it is absolutely clear that without their help, we would never have been able to identify, locate and arrest either of the targets of Operation IDent or Operation Vico," added Secretary General Noble.

"Cases like Operation Vico and Operation IDent show us all that keeping our children safe from sexual predators at home in the 21st Century can best be achieved by ensuring that strong local, national and international police institutions cooperate seamlessly across borders and across the digital divide worldwide."

There were almost 250,000 site visits on INTERPOL's website within the first 24 hours of the launch of the global appeal. This is more than ten times the daily average that the website usually receives. There should be no doubt that the public deeply cares about helping the police to identify the man pictured sexually abusing boys aged between six and ten in a series of around 100 images found on the Internet and retrieved from the computer of a convicted pedophile.

The suspected child sex predator featured in approximately 100 images in a series of around 800, which were believed to have been taken in Southeast Asia and depicted the sexual abuse of at least three boys aged between 6 and 10 years old. The first pictures of the man were originally discovered by police in Norway in March 2006.

After receiving the pictures from Norwegian police, INTERPOL's child exploitation unit at the General Secretariat in Lyon, France, circulated the images to its global network of experts to try and identify the man.

ICE Office of Investigations for Washington, D.C., and Cyber Crimes Center working with the U.S. National Central Bureau, a component of the U.S. Department of Justice, received the information from INTERPOL and located the suspect in Union, N.J. ICE Office of Investigations in Newark, N.J., made the arrest. Prosecutorial assistance was provided by the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section of the Department of Justice Criminal Division and United States Attorney's Office for the District of New Jersey. The suspect is due to appear in U.S. District Court for New Jersey for his initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Michael Shipp.

This is the second time that INTERPOL has launched a public appeal to identify a suspected child offender. Operation VICO last October led to the arrest in Thailand of Christopher Paul Neil. Following the success of that operation, INTERPOL's General Assembly in 2007 approved a resolution empowering the organization to publish information to request the public's assistance in child sex abuse investigations.

INTERPOL and ICE are partners in the Virtual Global Task Force, an international alliance of law enforcement committed to keeping children safe from child predators.