Law enforcement officials across the country are asking people to stop sharing a video on Facebook that depicts child pornography.
People in a number of states have contacted media outlets and police departments about the video. Many people are sharing the video in hopes of identifying the man shown abusing the child.
Investigators are asking people to stop sharing the video or screenshots of the video on social media — and this includes sharing it with police departments and media outlets on Facebook.
“If you saved it, if you posted it to your page, if you sent it to someone else… you’re disseminating child porn, and that’s a felony,” Tim Gann, an attorney in Alabama, told WHNT. “If you are in possession of (the video), no matter your good intentions, that is also a felony.”
FBI officials and federal prosecutors are investigating the case. There have been multiple reports of a suspect being arrested in connection with this case. Because of the nature of the investigation, investigators are not confirming any information about arrests.
“Every time it gets posted, the victim in this case gets re-victimized for more people to see what they have been subjected to,” Gann said. “There’s no need to repost this video. Law enforcement are doing their jobs. They are investigating. They are doing their best to identify the parties. There is no need for social media to be involved.”
What should you do if you see the video?
A spokesman for Central Alabama CrimeStoppers said you should report the video to the social media platform and call your local law enforcement office. Do not share the video to the department’s Facebook page and do not disseminate the video using Facebook Messenger. Do not save the video or screenshots of the video on your phone. You can also contact the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678).
Central Alabama CrimeStoppers issued a statement on Friday:
Law enforcement agencies throughout Alabama are conducting an ongoing criminal investigation surrounding the sexual assault of a child and the distribution of a video depicting the assault.
This video has been shared widely on social media. As this investigation proceeds, law enforcement issues a reminder to the public that possession, dissemination or sharing of this video is a criminal act punishable under the Code of Alabama, §13A-12-191, Dissemination or public display of obscene matter containing visual depiction of persons under 17 years of age involved in obscene acts, a Class B felony; and §13A-12-192(b), Possession and possession with intent to disseminate obscene matter containing visual depiction of persons under 17 years of age involved in obscene acts, a Class C felony.
In addition to investigating the circumstances of the assault, investigators are working to determine how and by whom the video was shared. If you receive this video through social media, report it to the social media platform and delete it immediately. Do not share it, as criminal charges may result.