Texas Wants To Close Loophole In Online Predators Law

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A Texas State Representative is pushing to close a loophole in the law designed to protect people from being victimized by predators online.

“The perpetrator uses non-physical forms of coercion such as blackmail to acquire sexual content… either photos or video of a child or an adult… to obtain money, or to engage in sex with the victim” State Representative Tony Dale said during a Monday Morning press conference at the Texas State Capitol in Austin.

“This new bill addresses a gap in law where it is currently not illegal to threaten or extort people to provide such material” Dale said, adding “If such material is published–as I said, that’s already illegal–but blackmailing people today for these purposes is not specifically illegal.”

Investigators will tell you the online anonymity provided by social media continues to be a big challenge to them in protecting potential victims from harm.

“You can be who you want to be, and unfortunately our children may start chatting with these individuals… believing they are one of their peers” said Captain Jerry Medders with the Texas Attorney General’s Office.

Dale is pushing for his bill to get a hearing before a Texas House committee.

http://www.ktsa.com

36 online child predators arrested in Montgomery County operation

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MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Texas — Officers have arrested 36 men as a part of a three-month sting operation targeting suspected online child predators, the Montgomery County Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force said.

“We know many kids are now out of school for the holidays and will likely have lots of free time on their hands,” District Attorney Brett Ligon said. “It is imperative that parents stay involved with who their kids are communicating with online.”

Investigators said one of the men apprehended made arrangements online to meet up with a minor and engage in sexual activity. The child turned out to be an undercover agent and the suspected predator was arrested at the meet up spot when he arrived, officers said.

The sting ran from October through December and led to charges ranging from possession of child pornography to attempted aggravated sexual assault, the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office said.

“Sexual predators are looking for opportunities to meet up with underage kids for sex and are using the internet and social media apps to arrange the meetings,” Ligon said.

The task force did not work alone to capture the suspect but was aided by several agencies including the Conroe Police Department, the Montgomery County Constable’s Office, Homeland Security Investigations, the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas Attorney General’s Office.

“We are committed to protecting our kids and hope that parents will actively join us in this fight,” Ligon said.