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SBI Agents receive national award for efforts to bust child porn ring

Release date: 5/18/2005


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National Center for Missing and Exploited Children recognizes agents’ work

HICKORY: Two State Bureau of Investigation Special Agents received awards today for their work to investigate and shut down a child pornography ring run by three Hickory area men.

SBI Special Agent Ginger Hutchinson of the SBI’s Northwestern District and SBI Special Agent Lori D. Shank of the SBI’s Computer Crimes Unit received National Exploited Children’s Awards at a ceremony today in Washington, DC for their work on the case. Sharing the award with Agent Hutchinson and Agent Shank are U.S Postal Inspector Lisa Holman of Charlotte and Detective Joanna S. Morton of the Hickory Police Department.

The awards are part of an annual effort by the national Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the Fraternal Order of Police and the US Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention to honor officers’ work on investigations involving missing and exploited children. The award winners are also scheduled to be recognized by President Bush at a White House ceremony on May 25.

“Thanks to the work of Agents Hutchinson and Shank, these child predators will be behind bars where they belong. This award for their dedication to protecting our children is well deserved,” said Attorney General Roy Cooper. “I’m proud of the work all of our agents are doing to help local law enforcement solve crimes and make our communities safer.”

The case that garnered these awards was conducted jointly by the SBI, Hickory Police and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. In the fall of 2003, the SBI and Hickory Police executed a search warrant on a suspect that led them to more than 350 videotapes of child pornography, some of which appeared to have been made at the suspect’s home. Working with US Postal Inspectors, the investigators then executed a search warrant on the suspect’s Florida home where they unearthed more evidence of the pornography ring. Many of the children victimized by the pornography were identified as street kids.

The investigation resulted in the arrests of three men, Marvin Harold Witherspoon of Hickory, David Carl Hollar of Rhodehiss and Marvin Lee Trivette of Granite Falls, on charges of manufacturing and/or possessing child pornography on January 16, 2004. All three pleaded guilty to federal charges. Whitherspoon is awaiting sentencing, while Hollars has been sentenced to 57 months and Trivette to 89 months in federal prison. Witherspoon also faces related charges in Catawba County.

This case was worked by Agent Hutchinson with assistance from Agent Shank as part of the SBI’s Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force. ICAC is a nationwide network of law enforcement agencies and prosecutors dedicated to protecting children from online dangers that was founded by US DOJ. North Carolina's ICAC Task Force assists local law enforcement agencies in tracking down predators who use the Internet to exploit children, and helps prosecutors when those cases go to court. For more information about ICAC, please visit www.ncsbi.gov .