Wounded warriors join fight against child porn

8:11 PM, Mar 4, 2013   |    comments
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David Keith with the National Association to Protect Children thanks Debbie Weiss for her $1 million donation.

A $1 million gift will help a national group with an active base in Knoxville further its mission to protect children.

On Monday morning, Debbie Weiss of California announced the donation to the National Association to Protect Children (NAPC).

The money will help establish a high-tech center at NAPC headquarters in Downtown Knoxville.

The Weiss Center for Child Rescue and Protection Technology will focus on advancing technology to protect children.

For several years, NAPC has partnered with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).

Together, they have been able to improve technology that catches predators.

"They've produced incredible tools for law enforcement. They've got a thumb drive that recognizes child pornography. You stick it in the computer and it downloads the child porn in 15 minutes. It used to take weeks to do manually," said David Keith with NAPC.

But law enforcement needs help, which is how the Weiss Center decided its first mission.

The HERO (Human Exploitation Rescue Operatives) Child-Rescue Corps program will create 200 new jobs for wounded warriors.

Veterans will be trained and placed across the country, using technology created by ORNL.

"You've got so many young men and women who were possibly planning on making the military their career and who have had that career taken away from them," Master Sergeant Rich Robertson, a retired Army veteran.

Sgt. Robertson helped design the Hero Rescue Corps.

"These men and women need to be shown that they have valuable skills in the workplace," he said.

The HERO Corps is a five year, $10 million initiative.

According to Sgt. Robertson, they hope to start training the first group of veterans some time late this summer.

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