HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - The core of the recent hidden camera child pornography case remains on the mind of everyone here at WHNT News 19.
And that is the children.
"Anytime that something such as sexual exploitation occurs, people feel violated," said Bryan Cox, spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
"The last thing we need to do is create hysteria, that every bathroom or private place is bugged with cameras," said Jane Orton, the Intervention and Clinical director for the National Children's Advocacy Center (NCAC).
The child pornography charges brought against Jeremy Nelson are likely to impact many Huntsville families. So far, WHNT News 19, Ann’s Studio of Dance, the Bentley Automotive Cadillac Dealership have been identified as businesses where Nelson admitted hiding cameras at one point.
Agents say Nelson occasionally cleaned at the Huntsville Hospital Childcare Center and are investigating the possibility that cameras may have been concealed there too. Though there is no evidence at this time that suggests he did.
The NCAC recommends parents reassure safety in their homes.
"The children potentially victimized are going to hear about it," said Orton. "It's better they hear it from their parents."
Investigators say it's becoming easier for the exchange of lewd material involving minors, but remain confident in their abilities.
"It's wrong, it is a crime," said Cox. "You will be found, you will be prosecuted, and you will go to jail."
"Earlier this year ICE Homeland Security identified a worldwide child pornography ring with 27,000 members worldwide," said Cox. That ring was operating in Louisiana, just two states away.
With the latest happening here in Huntsville, the NCAC is ready to step in to help everyone affected.
If you feel you may be impacted by this news, we have a resource to provide you. The Department of Homeland Security has a Victim Assistance Specialist. The number to call is 504-310-8800. You can visit their website by clicking here.
The NCAC also has resources that you can take advantage of, including counseling. The phone number to reach them is 256-327-3853.
If you have any information you would like to provide to the law enforcement agencies investigating this crime, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The NCAC released a resource for parents sharing the incidents with a child.
Parent Communication Strategies for sharing the incidents with child –
- It is best for the child to hear about it from you, the parent. Kids are talking about it and if your child has not heard about it yet, they will.
- Tell the child what is age-appropriate for them to know.
- Remain calm. You do not want your delivery to traumatize the child needlessly.
- Tell facts only, not all the “what ifs” that will only worry the child needlessly.
- A camera was found and it took pictures of people there.
- The camera has been taken away and law enforcement is taking care of the details.
- The man has been arrested and is in jail.
- We do not know all of the details about who is in the pictures but when the investigators find out who is in the pictures, they will tell us if you are in the pictures.
5. After telling the facts, reassure about the other facts:
- No one has been physically harmed or hurt that we know of.
- You are safe and supported by parents and family.
6. Assure child that the door is open for further questions and discussion.
7. Trust your instincts as the expert on your child in discerning what is best to tell YOUR child.
8. This may be a teachable moment for beginning the discussion with children about good safety practices, but without instilling significant fear.
9. Remember that children will often ask questions when they are needing/wanting more information. If they ask a question that you cannot answer, honestly say that the investigators cannot tell us all the answers right now but we will know more in the weeks ahead.
For additional consultation, parents may call the National Children’s Advocacy Center at 256-327-3853.