SPOKANE, Wash. - The sex offender who was living at the home of a Spokane Police officer in north Spokane is connected to an international child porn sting involving dozens of locations in 20 states and 27 countries, the FBI said on Wednesday.
FBI agents executed a search warrant at officer David Freitag's home on Tuesday, found child pornography on the premises and arrested Thomas Herman, a Level I sex offender who had been living in the basement. Freitag was placed on administrative leave pending an investigation. Tom Rice, first assistant U.S. attorney in Spokane says there is no indication that the police officer was involved in the child porn case. The City of Spokane's Human Resources Department said he was hired by the Police Department in April of 1981. His current salary is $66,481 per year.
Herman is scheduled to appear in federal court Wednesday afternoon.
The FBI field office in Los Angeles said, as part of its nationwide sting, it shut down a website known as www.namgla.net. Agents were acting under the Innocent Images National Initiative targeting child pornography networks operating globally using the Internet. The Assistant Director In Charge of the FBI in Los Angeles said the site serviced an international community of predators where thousands of graphic images of sexually abused children could be shared. According to the FBI, the site functioned as a message board where users could view and post messages to a computerized bulletin board.
In the United States, searches were conducted at 35 locations, including homes and workplaces of suspected offenders. The investigation was conducted by agents from 24 FBI field agents ni the following 20 states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin.
Agents seized dozens of computers and identified 22 individuals suspected to have ties to distribution and/or possession of child pornography. Two people with prior criminal histories - including Herman - were arrested. The other was a school bus driver living in New Jersey.
The sting covered much of the United States, but other countries as well. According to the FBI, since Tuesday, eleven searches have been conducted overseas in Ecuador, Chile, Poland, Spain, Portugal, Bulgaria and Sweden. Subjects have been identified in 27 foreign countries and multiple international investigations are continuing.