In Arlington, VA Charles Rust-Tierney, 51, the former president of the Virginia chapter of the ACLU, was arrested late last week by federal authorities and charged with receipt and possession of child pornography in violation of federal law. The criminal complaint by the U.S. Attorney's Office indicates that, over a number of years, Rust-Tierney frequented a web site containing graphic child pornography. Rust-Tierney's residence was searched pursuant to a warrant by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Arlington County Police Department, where they found he downloaded videos and photos from the web site. Rust-Tierney, who coaches youth sports teams in Virginia, had previously argued against internet filtering of web sites in public libraries and pushed for "maximum, unrestricted access to the valuable resources of the Internet."
To protect children from online sexual exploitation, Liberty Counsel and Liberty University School of Law support the efforts of Blue Ridge Thunder, one of the top Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Forces in the nation, headed by Sheriff Mike Brown in Bedford County, Virginia. An ICAC task force is a national program which works in conjunction with state and federal agencies to combat online child pornography and sexual exploitation. Blue Ridge Thunder targets online child predators and assists in their prosecution. It was one of the first ten task forces created by ICAC in 1998. Blue Ridge Thunder has a 100% conviction rate. Its national spokesperson is NBA basketball star Shaquille O'Neal.
One of the top five priorities of the U.S. Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales, is Project Safe Child, which is dedicated to stopping online child sexual exploitation. Law students at Liberty University School of Law have the unique opportunity to participate in an externship program with the Bedford County Prosecutor's office in conjunction with Blue Ridge Thunder. One law student is working on model legislation to increase the penalty for online child predators.
Children are our greatest resource and the future of our nation. Internet child sexual exploitation is one of the most serious threats to children. State and federal law enforcement must make the protection of children from sexual predators a top priority.
Liberty Counsel urges citizens to report any suspicious activity to the authorities. For additional information, contact any of the following agencies: BlueRidgeThunder.com (540-586-4800); SafeSurfinUSA.org; Missingkids.com (1-800-THE.LOST); NetSmartz.org; Cybertipline.com; projectsafechildhood.gov; or the ICE hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE.