This week in GA, 22 people were arrested in an undercover operation targeting online child predators. Investigators, who posed as 14 and 15-year-old boys and girls, say the online predators would start conversations in chat rooms, start to introduce sexual content into the conversations, and then eventually arrange to meet for sex.
When most of us hear the words “online child predator,” we picture a creepy older guy in a dark basement. But there is no stereotype. Here are the 22 people that were arrested:
- Thomas, W/M, 43, tire store employee
- Cody, W/M, 23, actor
- Pau, W/M, 44, funeral home director
- Richard, W/M, 24, electrician
- Leon, B/M, 20, retail stocker
- John, W/M, 30, unemployed
- Kyle, W/M, 26, software programmer
- Travis, B/M, 34, correctional officer
- Matthew, W/M, 25, tire store employee
- Matthew, W/M, 25, restaurant manager
- Cody, W/M, 27, crane tech
- Christopher, B/M, 22, grocery store employee
- Jordan, W/M, 22, pharmacy tech
- Ruben, W/M, 52, deputy jailer
- Nicholas, W/M, 23, pool attendant
- Ian, W/M, 25, university student
- Everett, W/M, 21, laborer
- Heather, W/F, 19, soldier
- Reginald, B/M, 40, truck driver
- Jordan, W/M, 21, airman
- Nicholas, W/M, 25, landscaper
- Tyler, W/M, 19, student
(W/B = White or Black, M/F = Male or Female)
Unfortunately, we can’t just draw up a picture and teach children to stay away from that kind of person online. And we can’t just tell youth to stay away from the Internet altogether.
But we can empower them to better navigate online spaces and interactions—What are red flag words? What are some general rules to follow when you’re having a conversation online?
See what you can do to help equip and empower youth to stay safe online and how you can identify risky behaviors before they become problematic:
Looking for something to share with the young people in your life? Send them our online safety guide for youth:
If you are struggling with a sexual interest in children, there is help available. Call the Stop It Now free and confidential hotline at (888) 773-8368 to talk to a trained counselor, or visit Virtuous Pedophiles to join a support network aimed at helping pedophiles avoid abusing children.