Police say a court appearance Thursday for an Onalaska man charged with a child sex crime should serve as a reminder to parents to be vigilant about what their kids are doing online.
The series of events that led to the arrest began with a police officer posting an ad online pretending to be a 14-year-old girl.
The ad was placed with the intention of identifying people interested in having sexual contact with minors.
Town of Campbell Police said a man responded to the ad and had communication online with the officer whom he thought was the 14-year-old girl.
On Thursday that man made a court appearance.
43-year-old Jon Mulder charged with the Use of a Computer to Facilitate a Child Sex Crime and Attempt of Sexual Assault of a Child Under Sixteen.
Police said Mulder was told during his online conversations that he was communicating with a 14-year-old, to which he responded, “Your age could get me 20 years in prison.”
He was arrested when he showed up at a French Island hotel to meet the girl who in reality did not exist.
Police said Mulder admitted he assumed the meeting would lead to sex. He’s currently free on a signature bond. He’s due back in court November 2nd.
Meanwhile police said this is an opportunity to address online safety, especially when it comes to online predators.
“It is definitely a problem and it’s something that we deal with on a weekly basis. If we had the time we could do many more stings like this,” Investigator Crystal Sedevie with the Holmen Police Department said.
She encourages all parents to monitor their children’s cell phones and online activities.
“I would rather have a battle with my kid over, ‘no I’m sorry you can’t have that app or no I’m sorry I’m going to check your phone every couple days, whether you like it or not,’ than having the police showing up at your door saying we have nude images of your child that were found on computer of a guy that was arrested in Maine,” Sedevie said.
Police said parent education is just as important and child education when it comes to online safety. One resource they recommend is www.netsmartz.org