Hustonville, Ky. (September 29, 2021,) — On September 23, 2021, the Kentucky State Police (KSP) Electronic Crime Branch arrested Joey Lee Wardle, 45, on charges related to child sexual abuse material.
Wardle was arrested as the result of an undercover Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) investigation. The KSP Electronic Crime Branch began the investigation after discovering the suspect uploading images of child sexual exploitation online.
The investigation resulted in the execution of a search warrant at a residence in Hustonville on May 13, 2021. Equipment used to facilitate the crime was seized and taken to KSP’s forensic laboratory for examination. The investigation is ongoing.
Wardle is currently charged with one count of possessing or viewing matter portraying a minor under the age of 12 in a sexual performance. This charge is a Class-C felony punishable by five to ten years in prison. Wardle was lodged in the Pulaski County Detention Center.
The Kentucky Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force is comprised of more than twenty-six local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies. The mission of the ICAC Task Force, created by the United States Department of Justice and administrated by the Kentucky State Police, is to assist state and local law enforcement agencies in developing a response to cyber enticement and child sexual abuse material investigations. This support encompasses forensic and investigative components, training and technical assistance, victim services, prevention and community education. The ICAC program was developed in response to the increasing number of children and teenagers using the internet, the proliferation of child sexual abuse material, and the heightened online activity of predators searching for unsupervised contact with underage victims.
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