"My goal is to rescue children."
I couldn't do it. I couldn't sit at my computer and immerse myself in the world of pedophiles, predators, and other child abusers, even for the express purpose of catching them and ending their heinous crimes. I couldn't put a big enough wall up around my soul - the job would simply tear me apart.
But Detective Constable Paul Krawczyk puts on his mental and emotional armour and dives into the putrid, execrable sludge of child pornography on the internet every day in the hopes that he can rescue one of the victims and bring their tormentors to justice. On Sunday, he did just that.
In real time, before his eyes, a man sexually assaulted a little girl.
"We see these images and unfortunately we see a lot of them, many times a day even," he told a news conference yesterday announcing the arrest of a 34-year-old St. Thomas man who police believe is responsible for the horrific assault.
"But to see this child and look in that child's eyes and realize that that child was alive somewhere and we had the possibility to save the child right then, it's difficult to describe."
In an interview with the Toronto Star, Krawczyk said he saw one thing in that little girl's eyes.
"Helplessness," he said, his right hand grabbing his forehead.
"It came without warning," he said.
Krawczyk had been chatting periodically with the man since January and was suspicious of him. But it wasn't until Sunday that the man started to send images and then assault the girl, he said.
"We had no reason or ability to arrest this person before that."
Within two hours, police in St. Thomas arrested a man at his home and charged him with a slew of sex crimes.
Unfortunately, our justice system has no tools at its disposal severe enough for someone - something - that commit such atrocities against a child. Temujin at West Coast Chaos said something online a long while back that stuck with me, and while I'm obviously not encouraging anyone to go Punisher on the abuser, Tem's words have been at the top of my mind since I heard this story on the radio last night: "I'm not picky: any kind of dead will do."
To Detective Constable Krawczyk and his fellow sleuths at the child-exploitation unit of the Toronto Police, I say "WELL DONE!" When I think of the difference you have made not only to this poor little girl, but to others less publicized, and of the toll it must take on you, my chest gets tight and my vision blurry. I cannot thank you enough.