The Department of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announces in a news release, “The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents and investigators with the Salinas Police Department have arrested "John Doe" child predator sought in a nationwide manhunt.”
Earlier this week, the Department of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), issued a public appeal for any information that could help identify the man referred to as “John Doe” who appears in at least four different videos sexually abusing and exploiting a young female child around 7 to 9 years of age.
Initially the information regarding the “four videos of child p*rnography with date stamps of April 14 and 27 were first discovered by the Danish National Police on May 3 and referred to U.S. law enforcement for further investigation”. The man identified as David J. Stevens, is a 58-year-old resident of Salinas, California. In addition, ICE authorities claim they have also “rescued a child victim identified in the case”.
So how exactly did the arrest happen? According to the news release provided by The Department of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) website, “the arrest and rescue came after a member of the public called in a lead to ICE's tip line”. I applaud and give thanks to the man or woman who took a stand against human trafficking, child exploitation, and child sexual abuse by contacting authorities and giving them pertinent information. You are my hero.
So many people have information about cold cases or the location of a missing child and it is because someone cares enough to take a stand that cases such as this one are successful. Have you ever seen an adult mistreat a child in such a way that your heart hurt and you physically felt ill?
Did you do something about it or notify the local authorities? If yes, thank you. If no, can I ask what stopped you? Were you fearful of retaliation from the perpetrator? Did you question yourself regarding what you really saw and felt that maybe you were blowing the situation out of proportion? Did you tell yourself it was none of your business and that you simply had different parenting beliefs?
Now, I ask you this…what if you were right. What if what you saw was child abuse, negligence, or bullying? What if what you saw was just the “tip of the iceberg”? If you keep thinking about the incident or that situation you experienced then it is likely that your instincts are correct. Can you continue to ignore what happened knowing a child may be hurt or endangered? Can you live with the consequences?
It is never too late to report your observations. You can even call anonymously or provide a tip online through the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) website using their cyber tip form. It is our responsibility to question when we see someone hurt, belittle, or bully a child. Standing up for children is part of being a responsible citizen of our community.
If we say nothing and do nothing then our silence condones the behavior we ignore. Every day that we hold onto possibly vital information that could help bring an abducted child home, help solve a cold case murder or stop a child from abuse, or exploitation is one more day the child suffers in silence.
In the end, when it is our time to answer for our actions, how will you explain to anyone how good and decent you are when you remained silent when it came to helping a child? Can you close your eyes at night and rest peacefully knowing your information could change lives?
We need to question the actions of others who intimidate or threaten a child’s safety and well-being, because the silence is deafening. Please speak up now and help break the silence and save a child’s life by contacting the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) through the toll-free 24-hour hotline at 1-800-843-5678.