Attorney: Tulsa Child Predators Take Advantage Of Free Public Wi-Fi
TULSA, Oklahoma - Free public Wi-Fi is a common convenience nowadays, but police said it's being abused.
They said child predators are using it to get and distribute child porn, and it's a problem happening in Tulsa.
Assistant U.S Attorney, Jeff Gallant, said he's been prosecuting fraud for most of his career but has recently been assigned to cases involving crimes against children.
He said he's passionate about this type of work because it's protecting our community's most precious commodity.
"We're not just talking about dirty pictures or sort of off-color pictures. A lot of these images and videos depict the actual torture, and sexual abuse and rape of very, very, small children," Gallant said.
Gallant is the Project Safe Childhood Coordinator for the Northern District of Oklahoma. He's a 22-year veteran prosecutor whose recent passion has become putting pedophiles behind bars.
“I believe that we're doing what the public wants done and we're vigorously enforcing the laws that are on the books, and if in a little tangible way we're making it safer for children to be on the Internet and we're making it safer for children in our community,” he said.
Gallant recently led the case against Kenneth Morain, a Tulsa man who is sentenced to 17 years for sharing more than 33,000 pornographic images and videos depicting children.
Morain did it all using public Wi-Fi while sitting in the parking lots of local businesses in town. That's something Gallant said is unsettling, but not uncommon.
“If you just go back a couple of years, very few businesses and companies offered free Wi-Fi, but when that started happening predators started taking advantage of that," he said.
Gallant said using public Wi-Fi makes predators hard to track; but that won't stop investigators.
"We're very fortunate here in Tulsa that we have excellent law enforcement resources, we have great law enforcement agents in the FBI, homeland security at work on these cases. We have the wonderful Tulsa Police department with an exceptional cyber-crimes unit," he said.
It's a tough job, but someone has to do it, and Gallant said he wouldn't have it any other way.
"I think it's important to emphasize that these criminals and predators don't stop until they're in prison, they don't stop until they're behind bars," he said.
Morain is also charged with three counts of sexual abuse in Tulsa County.
Gallant said that in many child porn cases, the behavior eventually escalates if they aren't caught in time.