FLOYD COUNTY, Ga. — Seven people, including a youth minister, have been arrested after the Floyd County Police Department rescued a child from a home where pornography was being produced.
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Police said a officers led a two-day sweep of the Rome and Cave Spring area after reports of suspicious cyber activity. Police got tips about suspected child pornography circulating in the area involving children from 2 to 12 years old.
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Investigators visited 21 locations during Operation Spring Cleaning and made seven arrests. Of those arrested, one was a youth minister and community leader who was coaching the child about how to act in videos and also molesting the child, police said.
Channel 2′s Chris Jose was in Floyd County, where investigators said Austin Perkins was a youth minister with Grace Fellowship Baptist Church in Cave Spring.
Jose talked to Perkins’ mother, who said she doesn’t believe the charges.
Kelly Bishop teared up as she talked about her son.
“He’s been a leader of his church,” Bishop said. “Always. I would hope nobody believes this because the church has always had him taking care of all this.”
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Police said the child victim had no family for support and had been taken in by the youth minister for care.
“He was coached,” Sgt. Chris Fincher said. “He was directed in what to do, and actions to take. That’s what makes this such an egregious crime.”
Fincher said everyone arrested in the operation was found to be in possession of child pornography that was being circulated worldwide and stored locally on hard drives and devices.
Steve Baisel with the U.S. Secret Service said that investigators collected terabytes of data.
“If you printed out on paper one terabyte, you could fill the back of a semi truck.”
Police said it is too early to say if there are additional victims.
Also among those arrested were:
Jackie Steve Autry, 64
Richard Alan Castleman, 26
Jason Michael Gass, 27
Tyler Antonio Johnson, 23
Joab Hayden Stewart, 24
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