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High-Ranking Georgia Deputy Sheriff With ‘Sex Offender Unit’ Busted As Child Sex Offender, Trafficking Child Porn

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Published on: February 12, 2022

Cobb County, GA — For years, it was the job of high-ranking Cobb County deputy sheriff, Peter Bilardello, to track and monitor sex offenders in his jurisdiction to protect the town from vile predators. The 51-year-old top cop is no longer in that position though, and now finds himself on the other side of the law. The very unit he was running will now be responsible for tracking and monitoring him after he was busted trafficking in images of child sexual abuse.

Bilardello was indicted this week on charges of distributing and possessing child pornography, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of Georgia said in a news release on Wednesday, Feb. 9.

“Bilardello allegedly shared child pornography through social media while he was employed as a law enforcement officer,” said U.S. Attorney Kurt R. Erskine. “The victimization of children is one of the most heinous crimes imaginable, and distributing images of child sexual abuse compounds the harm. It is especially troubling that these crimes were allegedly committed by someone in a position of public trust.”

According to court documents, in November 2019, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) received a report that a MeWe social media user had allegedly uploaded and shared approximately 12 images depicting children under 12 years old in sexually explicit conduct. NCMEC provided that information to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI), who determined that the account user was likely located in Marietta, Georgia.  The GBI then referred the information to the Cobb County Police Department.

It took nearly two years for the Cobb County Police Department to realize the person victimizing young children online — was one of their own.

On August 10, 2021,  Cobb County Police determined that the MeWe account belonged to Bilardello, who at the time was a Cobb County Deputy Sheriff. He had been employed by Cobb County for more than 15 years and worked in the Sex Offender Unit of the Sheriff’s Office.

His position in the sex offender unit likely allowed him to temporarily escape accountability using his influence to throw investigators off of his trail. However, once a search warrant was finally issued, there was no more hiding.

Once police executed search warrants for the MeWe account, as well as Bilardello’s home and cell phone, they confirmed that Bilardello had uploaded and shared horrifying media of children being sexually abused. Investigators also recovered more than 100 images and videos depicting young children in sexually explicit conduct from his home. Bilardello was immediately arrested and resigned from the Cobb County Sheriff’s Office.

“The Cobb County Police Department is committed to investigating all crimes committed against the members of our various communities. But when it comes to crimes perpetrated against children, the men and women of our Special Victims Unit are the most dedicated and diligent in law enforcement. Our SVU investigators are committed to being the voices for the voiceless and fully investigating the most heinous acts committed against defenseless children,” said Cobb County Police Department Interim Chief Stuart VanHoozer.

This case was brought as part of an initiative called Project Safe Childhood. Led by the United States Attorney’s Offices around the country, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children. Unfortunately, as this case illustrates, often times, the ones promising to protect children from sex offenders — happen to be the worst abusers out there.

Another perfect example of this happened right down the road in a neighboring department in Paulding County. In February of 2018, a cop whose job was teaching kids how to avoid child predators on line was busted.

This detective, whose job consisted of working with children taught Internet Safety Day to children at Rockmart Middle School. Then, in November 2018 he was presented the Commissioner’s Public Safety Award in Paulding County for his efforts, wait for it, of keeping local children safe.

In 2019, almost an exact year after receiving an award for keeping children safe, this man was arrested for preying on children.

“Every time pornographic images are distributed online, that child is continuously re-victimized”, said Philip Wislar, Acting Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “The FBI will not tolerate predators who prey on our children, especially ones like Bilardello, who are sworn law enforcement officers that took an oath to protect the citizens of our community.”

Article posted with permission from Matt Agorist

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