Catching the scum, one at a time

Of all the initiatives launched by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, the one we like best is “Operation Glass House.”

It uncovers human scum, and eventually sends them to prison for very long stays. If you worry about the nation dispatching too many people to prison, this is a group that will not trouble you.

They are “aggravated child pornographers” who compile and trade the vilest images.

The internal infrastructure of the nab ’em operation is financed mostly by federal money, and multiple police agencies get to bag the bad guys. Very bad guys.

Since Madigan launched the operation six years ago, police have grabbed 61 predators.

The latest arrest was Mark Galer, 55, of Lindenhurst, who was charged with reproduction of child pornography, a Class X felony punishable by six to 30 years in prison. He also was charged with four counts of possession of child pornography, a Class 2 felony punishable by three to seven years in prison.

Sixty-one arrests in six years might seem a small chip from a large, evil boulder, but these are the worst. They are cagey. Though they would seem to be lone wolves, common interests lead them to share. Internet sleuths catch them mostly because they trade on line. 

A Belleville man’s recent arrest revealed a video that had been traded 300,000 times, with almost 1,000 in Illinois. 

With a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, Madigan’s office also runs the Illinois Internet Crimes Against Children task force, which investigates child exploitation crimes and trains law enforcement agencies. Since 2006, the task force has nabbed 710 sexual predators.

The task force also has provided Internet safety training and education to nearly 333,500 parents, teachers and students and 17,193 law enforcement professionals. 

Sadly enough, the worst of the worst predators all seem to be in late middle age, which means they’ve been at their crimes for years. 

On the other hand, when a 60-year-old man gets a 20-year sentence, it means he’s unlikely to get out.