Child sex predators are lurking online and the Taylor County Sheriff’s Office prides itself on helping catch these criminals.
The department reports over the last four to six years, they’ve made anywhere between 35 to 50 arrests with the help of online stings.
“What we try to promote is proactive involvement by parents,” said Detective John Graham. “Awareness by parents to know what their kids are doing and to be included in their lives.”
Recently they’ve had to halt their online sting operations.
“Online solicitation of a minor has been challenged in the court system,” added Detective Graham.
A recent case brought up in the Supreme Court stated a man’s freedom of speech rights were violated.
“We in the industry call it dirty chat, that’s the dirty talk. The case stated an adult can say anything they want to someone they believe is a minor,” stated Detective Graham. “It’s not an offense until that person offers or solicits that minor for a sexual encounter.”
Detectives have met with our local State Representative Stan Lambert to hopefully get the law changed.
For James Cummings, who’s a single father of four, he uses his past experiences to help guide him on his children’s rules for online safety.
“One of the rules is they can only have one social media account,” said Cummings. “That came about because I caught my daughter using Blackberry Messenger talking to an older man.”
Detective Graham says laying down rules like this will help keep your children safer.