Ken Paxton

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott To Host Interactive Cyber Safety Town Hall Meeting

PLANO Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and his top Cyber Crimes Unit investigators, responding to the proliferation of predators seeking children online, will visit Plano on April 20 for an interactive cyber safety town hall meeting that will arm parents with the tools they need to keep their children safer on the Internet. National statistics show that one in five children received unwanted sexual solicitations online each year.

Web sites that kids frequent very often are also cruised by child predators, said Attorney General Abbott. My Cyber Crimes Unit investigators have seen firsthand the dangerous criminals that prey on children and teenagers in Internet chatrooms, personal web pages, and social networking sites. Parents attending the town hall event can benefit from the experiences of our investigators by learning how to protect their children from those who seek to take advantage of them online.

The Texas Attorney General’s office is a national leader in arresting online child predators. The Cyber Crimes Unit, launched by Attorney General Abbott in May 2003, targets online predators by assuming the identities of young teenagers in Internet chat rooms. Investigators have arrested 76 men who used teen chat rooms to arrange meetings with underage victims, with some predators driving hundreds of miles to meet children they met online. The office has also obtained convictions against 39 men on child pornography charges.

At the town hall meeting, Attorney General Abbott and his Cyber Crimes Unit investigators will outline the risks children face online, the environment teens face online, and the way child predators are using this emerging technology to find victims. The investigators will also offer information and safety tips about online predators and help parents decipher chatroom lingo.

I especially encourage high school students to participate in our discussion about safely using social networking Web sites like MySpace, Friendster and Xanga without compromising personal information that could unintentionally lead predators to them and their families, Attorney General Abbott added.

The interactive presentation will provide the audience with an opportunity to ask questions, and attendees will also receive Attorney General Abbott’s new Internet Safety for Parents video, which offers advice and tangible safeguards to parents on how to spot the warning signs that their children may be giving out too much information to a potential child predator.

The presentation will include straight talk about the issue of online solicitation and some discussions will include mature content. Parents of children of all ages and high school students are strongly encouraged to attend. Students in middle school should attend at their parents’ discretion.

Date:6:30 p.m. Thursday, April 20, 2006
Location:Plano West Senior High Auditorium
5601 W. Parker Road

Cracking down on sexual predators is a top priority of Attorney General Abbott’s administration. The Cyber Crimes Unit’s hunt for online child sex predators has resulted in arrests of men from 17 Texas counties and Indonesia. In addition to the Cyber Crimes Unit, Attorney General Abbott also formed the Fugitive Unit to locate convicted child sex offenders who have violated the terms of their parole and could be stalking children. The Fugitive Unit has arrested 275 of these parolees, as well as 48 unregistered sex offenders and another 23 men and women in other operations.

For more information, contact the Texas Attorney General’s office at 1 (800) 252-8011 or visit the Attorney General’s Web site at www.oag.state