(BATON ROUGE) April 3— Three Tangipahoa Parish men were arrested Tuesday in separate incidents for exploiting children online, announced Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell’s Cyber Crime Unit (CCU).
Investigators arrested 26-year-old William Knight, of 11030 East Nickens Road in Hammond, on charges of computer-aided solicitation of a minor and indecent behavior with a juvenile. The investigation initiated after Georgia authorities contacted CCU investigators about a complaint involving an adult male from Louisiana who was allegedly engaging in inappropriate chat applications with a juvenile in which the suspect requested nude photos of the victim. Agents were able to locate Knight as the suspect and made the arrest subsequent to a search warrant executed on his residence. If convicted, Knight faces up to 17 years in prison.
In a separate case, investigators arrested 42-year-old Robert Shawn Ipavec, of 42734 Mike Cooper Road in Ponchatoula, on a single count of distributing pornography involving juveniles. The arrest stems from an undercover cyber crime investigation into the sharing of child pornography online. Investigators were able to determine that Ipavec had made videos of child pornography available for download. Ipavec faces up to 20 years in prison, if convicted.
44-year-old Leonardo Mastascuso, of 49474 Pardo Lane in Tickfaw, also faces 20 years in prison after investigators charged him with a single count of possessing pornography involving juveniles. Forensic analysis of evidence collected during a search warrant at Mastascuso’s residence showed that he possessed child pornography videos on his computer.
The arrests were made as a result of a joint effort by the attorney general’s CCU, Louisiana State Police, St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Office, Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office and Homeland Security Investigations. All three men were booked into the Tangipahoa Parish Jail.
As internet crimes escalate, Attorney General Buddy Caldwell is allocating resources to vigorously monitor, arrest, and prosecute online child predators. The Attorney General’s Cyber Crime Unit has investigated thousands of computer crimes which have victimized children from infants to 17 years of age. To report suspected cases of Internet crime, call 1-800-256-4506.
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