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Child Exploitation

Wisconsin man charged with child sexual exploitation

MADISON, Wis. — A local man was charged Wednesday with sexually exploiting a child. The charges resulted from an investigation conducted by the following agencies: Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigations (DCI), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the Dane County Sheriff's Office.

Edward J. Wesser, of Madison, was charged May 30 in Dane County with sexually exploiting a child, which is a felony. A status conference is scheduled for July 2.

On May 24, DCI special agents, with assistance from HSI and the Dane County Sheriff's Office, executed a state search warrant at Wesser's Madison residence.

According to the criminal complaint, on Nov. 17, 2009, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children forwarded a CyberTipline report to the Wisconsin Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. The report included information about a screen name and e-mail address associated with posting images online that allegedly contained child pornography.

According to the complaint, an examination of documents from the suspect's account, obtained by warrant from the Internet service provider Yahoo, showed e-mails with images consistent with child pornography or child erotica. In the complaint, an undercover Boise, Idaho, detective reported receiving a file May 23, 2011 from the suspect's e-mail account. The file contained a six-minute video of children engaging in sexually explicit activities.

During the execution of the May 24 search warrant at Wesser's home, according to the complaint, Wesser admitted downloading child pornography and sending it by e-mail and Yahoo! Messenger.

The public is reminded that a defendant enjoys the presumption of innocence. The prosecution must prove its allegations at trial beyond a reasonable doubt.

This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide 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. HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE 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.