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'You just never unsee it': FBI says child pornography cases on the rise in Oregon

Denise Biehn, a supervisory special agent at the FBI's Portland field office, told KATU child pornography cases are on the rise in Oregon. (Image courtesy FBI).

An FBI special agent told KATU child pornography cases are on the rise in Oregon, and that it can be tougher to track them.

The agent also said parents need to be on alert, keeping a close watch over what their kids are doing on the internet. She said predators are frequently using their interactions with children there to get them to create child pornography. And it's become easier to share and hide the images online.

Denise Biehn is haunted by the horrific images of child pornography she's seen during her career in law enforcement.

"When you see it, you just never unsee it," said Biehn, the supervisory special agent of the Violent Crimes Against Children program for the FBI in Portland. "You just never forget about those kids and what they must've gone through in that moment. And that they are abused over and over again. For what, you know, for somebody's sexual gratification? It's just, it's gut-wrenching."

Biehn said agents in our area are seeing more cases.

"On any given day, if you wanted to in Portland, Oregon you could download child pornography without a problem," Biehn explained.

She said investigators are seeing more tips about child porn from people online and social media sites like Facebook and Instagram.

They typically report it to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which then reports it to the U.S. Justice Department and from there it goes to local law enforcement.

She said the evidence can be tough to track down.

"It used to be back in the day, if you did a search warrant and you were seizing a computer, you would find the images or the videos and any more that's not necessarily true," said Biehn. "The last couple of years or year, in particular, we've seen an increased use of apps, like peer-to-peer apps, for example, like Kik Messenger or Facebook Messenger, cloud sharing."

And Biehn said often child porn suspects also turn out to be hands-on offenders.

She added that predators now frequently get child porn by engaging kids online.

“They get in a conversation," Biehn said. "It may end up to be a harmless kind of romance online and before you know it that child is sending an image, maybe it’s just a topless image or something like that and they don’t know that the other person on the end of that line is an adult."

Biehn said predators then often get kids to send more pictures by blackmailing them or continuing to play the role of a romantic partner.

If you see something suspicious online, you're asked to report it immediately to the FBI or the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

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