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Child Exploitation

Walmart guard charged federally for child exploitation

COLUMBUS, Ohio – A plain-clothed loss prevention officer employed at a Columbus-area Walmart was charged Thursday with one count of receipt of child pornography following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and members of the Franklin County (Ohio) Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Taskforce.

Okey Belcher, 28, of Columbus, faces at least five years and up to 20 years in prison if convicted on the charge. According to the complaint, Belcher was initially arrested Dec. 5, 2011, by Grove City Police Department officers after he allegedly recorded cellphone video of a child in a Walmart restroom. Officers with the ICAC Taskforce obtained a search warrant for Belcher's phone. They found two videos on Belcher's phone of the exposed child using the restroom.

"The allegations against the defendant are disturbing," said Brian M. Moskowitz, special agent in charge of ICE HSI in Ohio and Michigan. "The facts of this case serve as a reminder that children can fall prey to predators at any time or in any place. HSI will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to protect children."

A cursory forensics examination of an iPod Touch belonging to Belcher also revealed more than 100 images of nude prepubescent boys and girls.

This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide ICE HSI initiative to protect children from sexual predators, including those who travel overseas for sex with minors, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders, and child sex traffickers. ICE HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators.

Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.