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July 27, 2023New Orleans, LA, United StatesChild Exploitation

HSI arrests daycare worker, seeks public's help to identify victims

NEW ORLEANS — Special agents with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) are seeking the public’s help to identify possible victims in an ongoing child sexual exploitation investigation involving a Harvey man who worked as a daycare specialist.

On July 24, HSI New Orleans and the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office arrested Max Cory Johnson Jr. on child exploitation charges after an investigation revealed he was accessing and downloading child sexual abuse material. Johnson had been employed as a daycare specialist at YouFit Gyms in Harvey since December 2022.

Due to his online activity and employment, authorities with the two agencies are seeking information that may help identify potential victims Johnson may have engaged or exploited.

“Protecting the children in our communities, both online and in person, remains a top priority for Homeland Security Investigations,” said HSI New Orleans acting Special Agent in Charge Edward V. Owens. “HSI, along with our dedicated law enforcement partners, remains committed to identifying individuals who prey on our most vulnerable population — especially those who hold positions of public trust.”

HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free tip line at 866-347-2423 or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock. From outside the United States and Canada, dial 802-872-6199. Hearing impaired users may call TTY 802-872-6196.

HSI takes a victim-centered approach to child exploitation investigations by working to identify, rescue and stabilize victims. HSI works in partnership with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, ICAC partners and other federal, state and local agencies to help solve cases and rescue sexually exploited children. You can report suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s toll-free, 24-hour hotline at 800-THE-LOST.

HSI is a founding member of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.

One of HSI’s top priorities is to protect the public from crimes of victimization, and HSI’s child exploitation investigations program is a central component of this mission set. Further, HSI is recognized as a global leader in this investigative discipline. The directorate is committed to utilizing its vast authorities, international footprint and strong government and nongovernment partnerships to identify and rescue child victims; identify and apprehend offenders; prevent transnational child sexual abuse; and help make the internet a safer place for children.

HSI is the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel, and finance move. HSI’s workforce of more than 8,700 employees consists of more than 6,000 special agents assigned to 237 cities throughout the United States, and 93 overseas locations in 56 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’s largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.