Fond du Lac DA Eric Toney is charging Dem AG Josh Kaul has not worked hard enough to clear what he claims is a backlog of internet sex crimes against children.
Toney, without citing his source, said by September there was a backlog of over 1,000 child sex predator referrals at the DOJ’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. He said he submitted an open records request to the DOJ last week to find out exactly how large the backlog is, if there is one.
“We’ve seen record violence, a drug epidemic across Wisconsin,” he said at a news conference outside the Department of Justice in Madison Wednesday. “And now we’re seeing something incredibly troubling; a backlog of child sex predator referrals at our Department of Justice that we’ve heard by September of this year, a number of over 1,000.”
DOJ’s ICAC handles crimes such as child pornography distribution, sexual assaults against children, soliciting child pornography, human trafficking and other heinous crimes.
DOJ spokeswoman Gillian Drummond told WisPolitics.com the agency is working to compile information about the task force’s case load in response to Toney’s open records request.
Drummond said the department saw a 400 percent increase in ICAC tips between 2013 and 2021. That increase has been driven in part by improvements in internet programs designed to automatically detect and report child sex crimes, she added. Last year, the task force made 468 arrests.
The U.S. DOJ in 2020 awarded Wisconsin DOJ ICAC employees the National Missing Children’s Day Attorney General’s Special Commendation for their work, Drummond noted. Kaul in his 2019, 2021 and the most recent budget has requested more funding and resources for the ICAC Task Force.
”The dedicated agents and analysts at Wisconsin Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) work diligently to ensure every tip that we receive has been reviewed,” she said. “DCI has viewed every National Center for Missing and Endangered Children (NCMEC) tip sent to DCI. Tips where a child is potentially in imminent danger are acted on within hours – at any time of day or night.”
When asked where he got his numbers, Toney didn’t say, but mentioned his experience and contacts in law enforcement.