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Child Exploitation

Indiana juvenile corrections officer charged with receiving child pornography

INDIANAPOLIS - A local juvenile corrections officer was arrested and charged Tuesday with receiving child pornography. The charge resulted from a joint investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Kokomo Police Department, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the following Indiana police departments: Kokomo, Carmel, Noblesville and Fishers.

Michael Shane Bates, 47, of Kokomo, Ind., was arrested and charged Sept. 21 in the Southern District of Indiana with one count of allegedly receiving child pornography. Bates was arrested without incident at his residence. For the last 15 years, Bates has been employed as a Juvenile Corrections Officer at the Robert J. Kinsey Youth Center in Howard County, Ind.

The investigation began as a result of a complaint by a private citizen to the Cybertip Line of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). The complaint alleges that between September 2008 and Sept. 21, 2010 Bates used a computer to receive and distribute multiple images of child pornography on the Internet.

Bates allegedly possessed numerous images and videos of child pornography on a thumb drive hidden in a chair at his home. The complaint does not allege that Bates produced any of the child pornography.

During his initial appearance Tuesday, Bates was ordered to reside in a community confinement facility in Indianapolis pending trial.

If convicted, Bates faces up to 20 years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine. Bates also faces up to a lifetime of supervised release.

This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide ICE 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. Since Operation Predator was launched in July 2003, ICE agents have arrested more than 12,800 individuals.

ICE encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE. This hotline is 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.