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Cyber-Predators

March 1, 2002 • Volume 12, Issue 8
Can Internet child sexual exploitation be controlled?
By Brian Hansen

Introduction

Patrick J. Naughton, a former Walt Disney Co. Internet executive, pleaded guilty to sex charges involving a 13-year-old girl he met on the Internet. To avoid jail, he agreed to develop software to help the FBI catch cyber-predators.  (Newsmakers/Dave Luchansky)
Patrick J. Naughton, a former Walt Disney Co. Internet executive, pleaded guilty to sex charges involving a 13-year-old girl he met on the Internet. To avoid jail, he agreed to develop software to help the FBI catch cyber-predators. (Newsmakers/Dave Luchansky)

Pedophiles and child pornographers are increasingly using the Internet to victimize minors. Of the estimated 28 million American children who use the Internet, nearly one out of five say they have been sexually harassed or solicited while online, usually in Internet chat rooms or via instant messaging and e-mail. Last year, the FBI opened more than 1,500 cases involving Internet child sexual exploitation, compared with only 113 cases in 1996. Law-enforcement agencies say it is difficult to investigate and prosecute Web-based sex crimes against minors due to aggressive defense tactics, a dearth of computer forensic specialists and other resources, poorly designed laws and a reluctance by some judges to treat crimes against children seriously. Meanwhile, civil libertarians worry that police “sting” operations entrap otherwise law-abiding citizens.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Sex Offenders
Sep. 08, 2006  Sex Offenders
May 03, 2002  Sexual Abuse and the Clergy
Mar. 01, 2002  Cyber-Predators
Jan. 12, 1996  Punishing Sex Offenders
Dec. 15, 1949  Control of Sex Offenses
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Child Abuse
Children
Internet and Social Media
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