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about us
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about us

our mission

Derived from the Latin verb meaning “watch over or guard"

The mission of The Asservo Project is to combat global human trafficking and sexual predators, support the recovery of victims, and aid in the imprisonment of perpetrators. Our team of diverse, dedicated, and experienced professionals utilize the latest cutting-edge technology to identify, analyze, and eradicate sexual exploitation and its associated networks.

Joseph Sweeney

Founder

Joseph Sweeney serves as the Founder/CEO of The Asservo Project. For over 25 years, Mr. Sweeney has devoted himself to serving his country and community as a former SWAT Operator, Bomb Squad Commander, and U.S government Explosive Security Specialist.  While serving overseas for Anti-Terrorism programs, he had conversations with colleagues about child kidnapping and human trafficking.  Once aware of the size and scope of this epidemic and the lack of effort to combat it, he felt he had to do something to help these people and, consequently, The Asservo Project was formed. We provide resources to assist Law Enforcement, conduct awareness seminars, and build relationships with global organizations.

Mr. Sweeney is also the former International Director of the International Association of Bomb Technicians and Investigators (IABTI) and currently serves on its Board of Trustees. He is also a member in good standing with the National Tactical Officers Association.

Joseph Sweeney

Founder/CEO

Frederick Woodard

Director of Investigations

Frederick Woodard is a retired, highly-decorated detective with the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police and current Licensed Private Investigator.

A United States Marine veteran, Fred retired from the Pittsburgh Police in 2013 after twenty years of service. During his time as a narcotics detective and a Task Force Officer with the Drug Enforcement Administration, Fred was involved in and directed many complex state and federal investigations involving high-level criminal organizations operating on local, state, national and international levels. Fred was honored as a five-time recipient of the Pittsburgh Police Officer of the Month award. In 2002, he was named Pittsburgh Police Officer of the Year for his role in the investigation and successful prosecution of what was described by then U.S Attorney General John Ashcroft as the largest drug trafficking organization in the history of Western Pennsylvania. Throughout the course of his career, Fred received many awards and commendations from local, state and federal agencies including the DEA, FBI, IRS and others.

Upon Fred’s retirement from the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, he became a licensed private investigator, working a wide variety of investigations utilizing the extensive training, experience, knowledge and network acquired over his career. He brings all of those attributes to the Asservo Project in the fight against human trafficking and sexual exploitation.

Lew Knopp

Director of Operations

Lew Knopp is a crisis and risk management specialist with over 29 years of service and active participation in the field.  Knopp has served in the elite U.S. Navy SEAL Teams, Control Threat Reduction Team, and maritime asset security team (MAST). He also has worked as a private contractor and CEO of a global risk management firm.  While in the military, Knopp was deployed multiple times to the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and Central and South America. As a private contractor, he has worked in the same regions with the addition of Southeast Asia. Knopp has specialized in security architecture, contingency operations, business continuity, crisis management, executive protection and kidnap, ransom and extortion.  He is a lifetime member of the UDT-SEAL Association, UDT-SEAL Museum, NRA, OSS society, and NTOA as well as a U.S. government contractor, licensed in security and private investigations.

Lew Knopp

Director of Operations

Michael Arleigh Richardson

Chief Cyber Analyst

Michael Arleigh Richardson

Chief Cyber Analyst

Michael Arleigh Richardson is the founder and CTO of Richardson Cyber. He has spent over two decades in the Information Technology field and has served as CTO of several companies. His expertise lies in distributed systems, security architecture, behavioral analytics, and social engineering. In addition to his extensive technical expertise, Mike has a passion for teaching. He has taught hundreds of students at colleges, universities, and companies, including several Fortune 500 companies. 

Mike has spent a good deal of his career on the Deep Web, the 96% of the web that is not accessible by normal browsers and search engines. The Deep Web and its Dark Networks are known for hosting every type of criminal activity, including sex trafficking. Mike has served as the architect and lead developer on a number of systems for tracking pedophiles, sex traffickers, and weapons dealers on the regular web as well as the Deep Web. As a member of The Asservo Project, he brings his knowledge and passion in the hopes of protecting victims from all types of sexual exploitation. Mr. Richardson has also made protecting children part of his mission and his greatest passion. As such, he founded the nonprofit organization, Child Security First, to keep children and teenagers safe on the web from issues such as cyber bullying, sex trafficking, hate crimes, and sexual predators. This organization works together with The Asservo Project to keep children safe.

Rachael Syska

Outreach Coordinator

Rachael, as one of the Outreach Coordinators for The Asservo Project, had her first exposure to human trafficking at a young age through a documentary film. She later learned just how large the scope and the horrible reality of this epidemic truly was.

Rachael attended one of The Asservo Project’s events and learned that her home state of Ohio was fourth in the nation for human trafficking occurrences. She felt compelled to get involved and become a part of the solution to this fastest growing criminal enterprise in the world. Rachael’s passion is educating others about the realities of human trafficking and child exploitation in hopes to aid in preventing more people being added to the outrageous number of victims. Along with her passion to help educate, Rachael utilizes her network of colleagues and friends to raise awareness and coordinate events for The Asservo Project. Rachael holds an Associates Degree in Specialized Science and is
currently finalizing her certification in court reporting.

Rachael Syska

Outreach Coordinator

Heather Shriver

Outreach Coordinator

As an Outreach Coordinator for The Asservo Project, she has chosen to stand up and be a voice for the voiceless. Her faith is what drives her to be a warrior against the battle of human trafficking and child exploitation. She received her Bachelors of Science in Sports Medicine and Nutrition from the University of Pittsburgh. Upon graduation, she pursued a career as a Vision Therapist and received her certification through the College of Optometrists in Vision Development. As a Certified Vision Therapist, Heather had the opportunity to help patients who were struggling with traumatic brain injuries; along with children with developmental delays. Her passion to work with children and teens has led her into volunteering with the youth ministry program at her church. Her greatest blessings in life are her family. She believes not only in the strong relationship The Asservo Project has with law enforcement, awareness and education are essential in combating this epidemic. It is her prayer that she will be able to impact those around her and spread a message of hope to those who may be entrapped in this horrific industry.