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14 Utahns arrested for child pornography

SALT LAKE CITY — Law enforcement officials cracked down on Internet child pornography in January with 14 arrests.

Operation Frostbite was organized by the Utah Attorney General's Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force to investigate and put behind bars several individuals accused of sexual exploitation of a minor or dealing harmful material of a minor.

Several alleged perpetrators were locating and downloading child pornography from their computers and laptops and actively manufacturing child pornography.

The task force received $250,000 in private funding from the national child protection organization, Operation Kids, to finance multiple investigations into child pornography, said Capt. Rhett McQuifton of the task force.

And the funding is essential, officials said.

The rising number of Internet child pornography crimes is alarming enough, but a recent study reported that 85 percent of a group of child pornography offenders, those who were convicted and then participated in a sex offender treatment program, were also contact sexual offenders, according to information the task force released.

Officials hope the additional funding, which also was used to fund a previous operation called March Madness, could help decrease the rising numbers and how many children are affected.

"Technology in general has allowed for individuals to engage in this type of activity," McQuifton said. "And now with video streaming and how fast computers are, it's even worse."

— Lana Groves