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  • Writer's pictureAlicia Kozak

Alicia's Law would equip police to fight online child sex offenders" via WBAL-TV 11

ANNAPOLIS, Md. --Legislation under consideration in Maryland would use unclaimed lottery proceeds to pay for training and equipment to help law enforcement investigate online child sex offenders.

Alicia's Law is named for Alicia Kozakiewicz, who survived being kidnapped, raped, tortured and chained in a basement dungeon for days. In 2002, Scott Tyree struck up a chatroom friendship with then 13-year-old Alicia. He abducted her outside her parents' house in Pittsburgh and imprisoned her in his northern Virginia townhouse basement. "I was chained, tortured, raped and had my denigration shared online through streaming video by this sadistic pedophile," Kozakiewicz said. "I was a 90-pound, bruised and beaten little girl who cried for my mommy and daddy, and I prayed that somebody would just find and rescue me. I may have been rescued, but the child that I was is still chained in that basement."

Federal agents using a provision of the PATRIOT Act managed to pinpoint Tyree's computer. He's serving a 19-year sentence. "It is one thing to experience abuse, but to see it through your abuser's eyes is unimaginable, and to know that others watched it for their own sick pleasure will haunt me forever," Kozakiewicz said. "There are just too many predators out there." Kozakiewicz is on a mission to help law enforcement, whom she refers to as her rescue angels, and victims. She's in Annapolis testifying in favor of legislation that establishes the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Fund.

"Our workgroup found that less than 2 percent of the sexual child exploitation cases are investigated, because our state law enforcement doesn't have the technical expertise," said Sen. Susan Lee, D-Montgomery County.

The first $3 million in unclaimed state lottery prize money each year will provide grants to support law enforcement training and buy equipment. "No one wants Maryland to be the state where predators know that they won't be caught, because we don't have the funds to stop them," said Delegate Brooke Lierman, D-Baltimore City.

A portion of the fund also goes to programs that help victims.

"Children advocacy centers need these resources to be able to provide the hope and the healing so that children can grow up and have a future and productive lives," said Adam Rosenberg, with the Baltimore Child Abuse Center.

"For most of those Maryland children, there will be no rescue. There will be no knock at the door, no angels, because law enforcement in Maryland, just like in every other state, is overwhelmed and outnumbered," Kozakiewicz said.

Kozakiewicz's journey also includes completing a master's degree and she's engaged to be married.


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