FBI agents online trying to catch predators
Date: February 11, 2004
Law enforcement officers are well aware of the rising number of sex crimes being committed on the internet.
On Monday, the FBI arrested a man accused of trolling for young girls.
This is just one example.
The agency opened its doors to News Channel 8.
This is a sensitive operation. It is the only FBI sex sting operation in New England.
In the 6-months it's been fully operational, 3-would-be sex offenders have been nabbed.
It doesn't take long. Once these FBI agents get into chat rooms known to be popular with sexual predators they're hit on.
"I would describe it as a bee to honey," says Joe Dooley.
Dooley supervises the cyber crime task force at the FBI building in New Haven but he says it's a combined effort with the help of state and local police too.
They all spend time on line pretending to be children.
The conversation quickly turns to sexual discussions and it's usually an adult man looking at the profile of a minor.
The law enforcement agents on line are trained on how to talk and act like a teenager and they let the predator's do most of the talking.
"We do not bring up discussions of sex. We let the offender indicate that conversation."
They're trying to prevent tragedies like the death of Danbury teen Christina Long who met her killer on line.
This is the only FBI operation of its kind in New England but there are similar operations at several state and local police agencies.
I hope we go out of business but I don't think that's going to happen. Don't think predators will stop."
Authorities say it is usually adult men in these chat rooms. They say it only takes minutes for the conversation to quickly turn to sex and soon a suggested meeting.
Officials warn parents to remind their kids not to post a profile of themselves on the web, because you never know where it could end up .
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