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Prosecuting child exploitation cases in Northern District of New York

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Child exploitation in central New York is a horrific problem.

Assistant United States Attorney Lisa Fletcher said her office has all the cases they can deal with and there is no end in site.

"We're aggressive and we have a thought process in this district — that if you are going to victimize children in these horrible, horrible ways, you're going to be held accountable," Fletcher said.

Fletcher has been prosecuting child sex crimes for more than a decade and the number of cases during that time has skyrocketed.

She said the internet and smartphones have opened the floodgates for criminals wanting to deal in child pornography.

"With the explosion of the Internet. The explosion of the cases came right along. With the explosion of smartphones, everyone can take a picture and they do. And the minute you take a picture, you've hit me. It's a federal case," Fletcher said.

No only are there more cases, Fletcher reports the nature of the content has changed.

She said the victims are younger and the sexual acts more violent.

It is difficult work prosecuting these cases, but for Fletcher, it is a passion to put the offender behind bars.

"Whether they're children that are on the Internet, whether they're their own children, or a neighbor kid, or somebody else that they've stumbled across, those kids are victims and I'm in it for the kids. I'm going to stand up for these kids every single day until they drag me out of here," Fletcher said.

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