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300 Arrests to Protect Children from Sexual Predators

300 Arrests to Protect Children from Sexual Predators By Greg Abbott Attorney General of Texas Recently, several high profile cases involving the abduction and/or criminal assaults of children have riveted the nation. As a parent, I can think of no more heinous crimes than those committed against children. That is why protecting children from sexual predators is one of my top priorities. So far, my office has arrested more than 300 of these offenders as the result of an aggressive three-pronged approach that emphasizes prevention. First, investigators with our Cyber Crimes Unit patrol Internet chat rooms, where many predators try to develop relationships with children for the purpose of luring them to a meeting for sex. Investigators pose as underage girls, who agree to meet the predator at a specific location. When the offender arrives for the meeting, he discovers that the "girl" is actually there to arrest him. To date the Cyber Crimes Unit has arrested more than 60 of these online predators. Prevention also includes cracking down on convicted sex offenders who violate the terms of their parole. I launched the Fugitive Unit in 2003 to locate, arrest and send these individuals back to prison and so far we have nabbed more than 215. Let me emphasize that the Attorney General's Office is not targeting paroled offenders who abide by the law. To be a target, a person must be a child sex offender who has violated the terms of his parole in some way. The third way we pursue sex offenders is through Operation Missing Predator, an initiative my Fugitive Unit launched in April to apprehend those who fail to register with local law enforcement authorities. We have already arrested 30 of these offenders. Our success is not only due to the hard work of the Cyber Crimes and Fugitive Units. We also thank local law enforcement, with whom we work very closely on these cases, as well as the watchful public for its assistance in locating these dangerous fugitives. My office has posted the names and faces of fugitive parolees on the Internet, and we have arranged with Texas Crime Stoppers to receive tips from those who can help us locate them. While we are pleased our efforts have been successful at taking predators out of chat rooms and off the streets and putting them into jail cells, it is important to remember that parents are still the most effective line of defense for our children. Know where your kids are. If they use the Internet, make sure you educate yourself and them to ensure they don't fall victim to online predators. You can find more tips about online safety at the Attorney General's website: If you have information about a fugitive child sex offender, an offender who has failed to register, or an offender who has registered falsely, call Texas Crime Stoppers, 24 hours a day, at (800) 252-TIPS (8477). You do not have to give your name and your information could earn you a cash reward. Please exercise caution, however. These fugitives should be considered dangerous. Never attempt to apprehend a fugitive yourself. Let's get these predators off the streets. POINTS TO REMEMBER To report information about a fugitive child sex offender: TEXAS CRIME STOPPERS 24 hours a day (800) 252-TIPS (8477) You DO NOT have to give your name. Your information could earn you a CASH REWARD. For information on sex offender registration or notification: Crime Records Service Texas Department of Public Safety Post Office Box 4143 Austin, TX 78765 (512) 424-2800 For information about a specific registered sex offender in your area, contact your local police department or sherriff's office. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children Information on this and other topics is available on the Attorney General's Web site at