Tulsa Law Enforcement Seeing Rise In Online Child Predators
TULSA, Oklahoma - The FBI's Internet Crimes Against Children task force has made a string of arrests in the Tulsa area recently.
The FBI has 80 task forces that work online to catch predators. It's composed of FBI agents and detectives from local police departments, like Tulsa's cyber crimes unit.
In eight days the task force arrested Drake Dugan, Carl Spaeth, and Casey Parker, who were all accused of sending nude pictures and discussing sex with a 14-year-old girl, which was actually an undercover officer.
The FBI said it's not entrapment, but being proactive. They follow guidelines from the judicial system.
"That is a meticulous and methodical system, it's not shooting from the hip. It's something that has to be before a federal judge. There's no tricks, they're just doing what they're trained to do and doing it well," said Josh Martin, Tulsa's FBI supervisory agent.
In the affidavits, Kik and Whisper are apps commonly mentioned. Agents said predators have contacted kids as young as ten, sometimes younger.
"Teenagers, young children, now, everybody has access to the internet," Martin said.
He said adults know they can end up in jail but this does little to stop them.
"I equate it to speeding on the Broken Arrow Expressway or speeding on 169. You can put 20 Tulsa Police Department officers out there and write tickets every day, but the next day somebody is speeding," Martin said.
His best advice is for parents to know what's going on in their children's online life and real life, that might make them vulnerable to the attentions of a stranger.
Officers said the work is mentally taxing and disgusting, but they do it because they have a passion for protecting children.