The arrest of an American national on Thursday morning quickly led to the rescue of one of his victims, a 16-year-old girl, in a neighboring city.
The case against Charles Gergley began earlier this summer, as a 14-year-old victim bravely shared information that led police to an American suspect reportedly living in Cebu. Philippine National Police’s Women and Children Protection Center began to investigate Gergley in coordination with Philippine and international partners, including the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
Authorities arrested Gergley in his Cebu City apartment early Thursday morning after a nearly 12-hour search of the apartment. Among the evidence collected were devices containing dozens of sexually explicit images and videos of young women and children—many of which depicted Gergley himself engaging in sex acts with the young Filipinas. Money transfer receipts, condoms and bags of candy, which Gergley reportedly passed out to young Filipino children, were also found during the execution of the search warrant.
Intelligence collected at the scene also led IJM and our partners to search for a 16-year-old victim, and authorities were able to rescue the girl as social workers stood by to care for her needs.
IJM’s Cebu Field Office Director, John Tanagho, commended the police for the successful operation and their “courage and commitment…in the fight to protect vulnerable Filipino children from online sexual exploitation.”
Chief Romeo Perigo, who heads the unit of the Women and Children Protection Center that conducted the successful operation, urged people to protect children in their own communities: “We are requesting our countrymen to be aware and report any unusual activity in their place to the police so that we can prevent the abuse of our women and children.”
Gergley, a long-time resident of Cebu, now faces charges related to the production and distribution of sexually explicit videos and photos of Filipino children.