On Thursday, March 23, 2023, Joseph Prater, of Toombs County, GA, was arrested and charged with one count of Sexual Exploitation of Children by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Child Exploitation and Computer Crimes (CEACC) Unit. The GBI CEACC Unit began an investigation into Prater’s online activity after receiving a CyberTipline Report from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) regarding the possible online possession and distribution of child sexual abuse material. This investigation led to a search warrant of Prater’s home and his subsequent arrest. The GBI CEACC unit was aided in the execution of this search warrant by the GBI Human Exploitation and Trafficking (HEAT) Unit and the Vidalia Police Department. Prater was taken to the Toombs County Jail upon his arrest.
This investigation is part of the ongoing effort by the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, housed within the GBI’s Child Exploitation and Computer Crimes Unit, to identify those involved in the trade of child sexual abuse material. The ICAC Program, created by the U.S. Department of Justice, 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 by predators searching for unsupervised contact with underage victims.
Anyone with information about other cases of child exploitation is asked to contact the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Child Exploitation and Computer Crimes Unit at 404-270-8870 or report via the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children CyberTipline at CyberTipline.org. Anonymous tips can also be submitted by calling 1-800-597-TIPS (8477), online at https://gbi.georgia.gov/submit-tips-online, or by downloading the See Something, Send Something mobile app.