Internet Users Help Nab Accused Child Predator

Interpol credits Internet users with helping to identify and locate a suspected child predator, who was arrested in New Jersey.

K.C. Jones, Contributor

May 9, 2008

2 Min Read

For once, the Internet has been praised for helping -- rather than hindering -- the ability of adults to protect children.

Interpol, an international police organization, has credited Internet users with helping locate a suspected child predator. Interpol announced the arrest of Wayne Nelson Corliss, of Union City, N.J., after receiving tips from Internet users in the United States.

Investigators accuse Corliss, 58, of using the Internet to distribute images of him sexually abusing children in Southeast Asia. After being unable to identify Corliss internally, the investigators posted pictures of Corliss on the Web. Three people in the United States recognized him. Those Internet users e-mailed their tips to Interpol's headquarters in Lyon, France. The tips were relayed to police in New Jersey, where Corliss was arrested.

"Two days ago, this man's nationality, identity and location were totally unknown," Interpol Secretary General Ronald K. Noble, said in a news announcement. "All we had to go by were a series of graphic photographs in which the suspect was seen sexually abusing young children and our confidence that the public and police worldwide would once again respond to Interpol's call for assistance. Then two days later, the primary suspect is now in custody is an outstanding achievement and a credit to the citizens, media and law enforcement worldwide who responded to Intelpol's call."

Julie L. Myers, homeland security assistant secretary for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said the case should hearten all who value children's safety and well-being.

While debate rages over how to protect children from predators who stalk and lure victims online, the case highlights how technology can help law enforcement efforts to find sex predators.

Interpol said that it recorded nearly 250,000 site visits to its Web site within 24 hours of launching a global appeal to help identify the suspect. The organization said that's more than 10 times the traffic the Web site normally draws.

"There should be no doubt that the public deeply cares about helping the police to identify the man pictured sexually abusing boys aged between six and 10 in a series of around 100 images found on the Internet and retrieved from the computer of a convicted pedophile," the organization explained in a statement.

A trial date has not yet been set.

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