Cyber crimes against children on the rise | Letters to the Editor | #predators | #childpredators | #kids


Recently, the Citrus County Sheriff’s department arrested 10 suspected cyber child predators through their Operation Cyber Knights. Sheriff Mike Prendergast should be commended.

Children are more vulnerable and trusting and can fall prey to these scumbags that prey for sexual activity. There are many tools at the state and federal levels to track down these predators.

Child Rescue Coalition, a Florida-based nonprofit, developed the Child Protection System, which can scan file-sharing networks and chatrooms to find computers that are downloading sexual photographs of young children.

Get more from the Citrus County Chronicle

In 2002, 22 states passed legislation to allow GPS tracking of sexual offenders. Six states (including Florida has enacted laws lifetime requiring electronic monitoring for certain sex offenders. Congressional legislation (Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act) was enacted to support electronic monitoring to ensure public safety.

FDLE has a weblink to locate sexual predators in your area at offender.fdle.state.fl.us/offender/sops/offenderSearch.jsf. The Department of Justice weblink is www.nsopw.gov/?AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1.

Astoundingly your child may contact a predator through the internet. As parents, there are measures to keep them safe. It is important to educate yourself about the websites, games and links that your children may frequent. One recent case: a mother allowed her 13-year-old son to play Minecraft and Fortnite video games online, which were “nonviolent.”

However weeks later, a pop-up came on the computer screen about bestiality involving a young boy. Through her son’s Discord account (gamers’ chatroom), she found graphic language of sexual acts in every posts. Her son’s “13-year-old” contact was found to be a man and later arrested as a child predator!

Parents need to explain about appropriate social media profiles and appropriate shared information. The Browser KIDDLE will only allow access to safe sites. GMail has tools which can allow you to “whitelist” approved emails and can block any messages, which contain certain trigger sexual words. Monitoring usage by a keystroke logger (i.e. Kidlogger) will take periodic on screen snapshots. Of course, honest open communication with your child is your best tool.

The High Tech Crimes Unit in Citrus County helps combat child predators online. Technology and types of crimes have changed since the CCSO was formed June 2, 1887. Our county’s population is now over 150,000 people.

If you suspect someone is committing a crime against our children, you can report this at 352-249-2790. Our sheriff’s department is always there.

Walter Pike

Beverly Hills



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