Attorney General’s Special Commendation
Assistant District Attorney Eric R. Bellas, North Carolina 25th Prosecutorial District
Detective Scott Carico, Burke County (NC) Sheriff’s Office
Special Agent Casey Drake, North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation
Selena Moretz, Burke County (NC) Child Advocacy Center
Special Agent John D. Wydra, Jr., Federal Bureau of Investigation
In June 2012, a man who had secretly exploited children for years was finally brought to justice through the determined efforts of the North Carolina ICAC Task Force. Early in June, Spanish authorities recovered disturbing fetish photos and videos of children when they arrested a Spanish national who was involved in an international child pornography ring. The Spanish authorities shared the photos and videos with FBI agents in Spain, who determined, based on items depicted in the photos, that the photos and videos most likely had been produced in North Carolina. FBI agents in Spain forwarded the photos to FBI offices in Charlotte, which is a partner in the North Carolina ICAC task force, for further investigation.
An FBI agent in Charlotte reviewed the material, some of which involved female children younger than 12 years old wearing knee-high leather boots and drinking what appeared to be a viscous liquid from a container in a classroom. The agent noticed the words “Hildebrand Royals” on a floor mat in a video, and he determined that Hildebrand referred to an elementary school in Burke County, North Carolina. Soon after, the agent identified Michael Alexander, a teacher at the elementary school, who appeared in some of the videos.
The FBI contacted the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation and the Burke County Sheriff’s Office, both North Carolina ICAC partner agencies, to join in the investigation. All three agencies worked together to identify the female children depicted in the pictures and videos. Investigators confronted Mr. Alexander with the evidence from the Spanish investigation. He admitted involvement and agreed to provide the investigators evidence regarding the child pornography he had created.
On June 13, 2012, investigators began interviewing parents of the victims. Once the children were identified and their parents confirmed their images, the Burke County Child Advocacy Center (known as The Gingerbread House), interviewed the children. Over 3 weeks, the Child Advocacy Center conducted more than 40 forensic interviews.
Two of the minors depicted in the videos were identified as current high school students, and they disclosed during a Gingerbread House interview that, as elementary students, Alexander had sexually molested them in addition to taking the videos of them. Later that same day, Alexander took a polygraph. During the post polygraph interview, Alexander admitted molesting three child victims and coercing several child victims to drink his bodily fluid by referring to it as “truth serum.” Subsequently, Alexander was arrested and charged with multiple child pornography and sex offense crimes. During a later interview, Alexander admitted to other offenses.
On July 12, 2012, Alexander pled guilty to sex offense charges, and a state judge sentenced him to serve 480 months to 594 months in the North Carolina Department of Corrections. Because of the collaboration of the FBI, State Bureau of Investigation, Burke County Sheriff’s Office, the District Attorney’s Office in Prosecutorial District 25 and the Child Advocacy Center, this case was resolved in just 29 days, start to finish.