North Carolina Department of Justice
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NC Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, SBI win national award

Release date: 5/16/2013

Investigators and prosecutors recognized for work on Burke County case

Washington, D.C.: Members of North Carolina’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force were honored this week in Washington for work that led to the arrest and conviction of a Burke County teacher for molesting children and creating child pornography.
On Wednesday, the U.S. Attorney General’s Special Commendation was awarded to Special Agent Casey Drake with the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation, Assistant District Attorney Eric R. Bellas with the 25th Prosecutorial District, Burke County Detective Scott Carico, Selena Moretz with the Burke County Child Advocacy Center, and FBI Special Agent John D. Wydra, Jr. for their work on the case against Michael Alexander.
The award recognizes the extraordinary efforts of an Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task force or affiliate agency for making significant investigative or program contributions.  North Carolina’s ICAC Task Force is led by the SBI’s Computer Crimes Unit, of which Special Agent Drake is a member. Drake is a graduate of Emory University and has served with the SBI since 2005.
“Criminals who abuse children and share images of that abuse are must be stopped, and I’m proud of the work our ICAC Task Force does to bring predators to justice,” said Attorney General Roy Cooper, who oversees the N.C. Department of Justice, which includes the SBI. “I’m pleased to see these deserving investigators and prosecutors recognized for their work.”
“Our agents partner with federal and local authorities to protect the people of North Carolina, and this case shows that cooperation and good investigative work can bring justice to victims and put criminals behind bars where they belong,” said SBI Director Greg McLeod.
Law enforcement in Spain first came across child pornography photos and videos made by Alexander in June of 2012. Spanish authorities shared the information with the FBI, which traced the images to North Carolina. The FBI partnered with the SBI and the Burke County Sheriff’s Office to identify the children pictured in the images. Law enforcement then worked and the District Attorney’s Office and the Burke County Child Advocacy Center to conduct forensic interviews with more than 40 victims.
Based on evidence uncovered during the investigation and interviews, Alexander was arrested and charged with multiple counts of child pornography and sex offenses against children.   On July 12, 2012, he pleaded guilty to several sex offense charges and was sentenced to serve 40 years or more in state prison. The swift collaboration between five ICAC partner agencies resolved this case in just 29 days.

Pictured in photo:  FBI Special Agent John D. Wydra Jr., SBI Special Agent Casey Drake, Selena Moretz of the Burke County Child Advocacy Center, Assistant District Attorney Eric R. Bellas, and Burke County Detective Scott Carico.

Photo Credit:  Lori Shank, SBI Computer Crimes Unit Special Agent in Charge

Media contact:  Noelle Talley (919) 716-6413