BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. - 9 Investigates learned that a Brevard County deputy and his team of investigators are rescuing children being abused in the one place where they should feel the safest -- their own homes.
Channel 9's Vanessa Welch learned the deputy goes online searching for predators and has saved countless children in the process.
Welch was given special access to learn how one recent arrest the deputy made led investigators to a ring of suspects accused of abusing children and sharing child porn.
"If people want to know what a monster looks like, that's a monster in my opinion," Brevard County agent Mike Spadafora said as he displayed an image of Michael Glascock.
Spadafora found Glascock online while searching the Internet for people preying on children. He said Glascock posted an online ad offering sex with his 3-year-old daughter.
"He would invite other men to come to the house and basically have sex with the child while he watched," Spadafora said. "I knew we had to get the house and get the child out."
Just an hour later, he had Glascock in handcuffs.
Glascock is accused of sexually abusing his children, and sharing videos and photos with other men doing the same thing.
"It's disgusting," Spadafora said.
The agent said he knew he would find clues to rescue more children in Glascock's cellphone.
Sure enough, forensic investigators at the Brevard Sherriff's Office extracted pictures, videos, text messages and phone numbers, all of leading to the arrests of seven other suspects in central Florida.
Five of the men are accused of sexually abusing children.
"Without the forensics on that phone we would have never found the other people involved," said Francis Dufresne of the Brevard Sheriff's Office.
The other people Dufresne talked about were 12 children who he said were rescued from a life of sexual abuse.
Forensic software helped him figure out who was behind pornographic images Channel 9 cannot show on the air or on its website.
"We had the serial number embedded in a picture and we took that camera from our suspect and I was able to match the two together and save a child," Dufranie said.
"Once you see an image or a movie of child pornography, it's burned in your memory forever. You will never forget it," Spadafora told Welch.
images motivate Spadafora and his team to hunt down predators online, something he often does on his own time, but he's quick to share the credit.
"Without the help that I received, none of this could have been possible," he said. "A lot of great investigators also put their time and effort into this."
Spadafora has been nominated for Florida's Deputy of the Year.
The majority of the
men arrested in the case are facing life sentences. The case also had a ripple effect through the Internet and led Homeland Security agents to 50 other suspects across the country.