Cyber Task Force Battles Child Sex Predators
9/18/2012 (Updated 6:50:18 PM)(Source: Jason Weinstein)
Detective James Broderick of the Southern Tier Cyber Predator Task Force is on the front line of the battle to stop sexual predators from targeting children. And that front line has moved on-line.
"I think it's becoming more prevalent because of the technology. The internet is so vast. It just allows more people access to it. Back in the '70s and '80s the way most of the people got their child porn was through the mail through videos or magazines," said Broderick.
Members of the task force consult with local schools. Maine-Endwell makes even the youngest students aware of dangers, cyber and otherwise.
"So we talk about it real young and at that level. Certainly we wouldn't call it a sexual predator to a kindergartener but we would talk about stranger danger, things like that. And then all the way up to the high school where we would use the terminology that you're using or that a police force might use," said Julie Gallagher,
Director of Leadership, Learning, and Accountability at the Maine-Endwell Central School District.
So what is a parent to do?
"Feel free to look at your kid's computer. Feel free to go through their phone. It's your right as a parent. Just know who their friends are. These kids with 500, 600 friends, they don't even know more than half of them. And that's how these cyber predators get in," said Broderick.
Broderick says children being afraid or anxious after using the computer can be a red flag.
"(If they're) very emotional after getting done using the computer, that's usually a tell-tale sign that something's happening. Somebody contacting them for a sexual exploitation or even just cyberbullying," said Broderick.
Broderick estimates the five-year-old Task Force has been responsible for about three dozen prosecutions on the federal and state level.
"I don't think we're winning the race just yet. I think the technology to keep us at bay is still greater tahn the technology we can use. But we do have it and we are finding these people," said Broderick.
****In Broome county, Jason Weinstein, FOX 40 HD News.****
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