Jessica Cejnar / Tuesday, Sept. 29 @ 8:35 p.m.
DNSO Operation Targeting Child Predators Makes First Arrest
The Del Norte County Sheriff's Office announced that a special operation targeting child predators made its first arrest using an undercover decoy posing as a 14-year-old.
From a Tuesday Facebook post:
Parents: Please read this post, then figure out a way to sit your children down and have a discussion with them.
For the past several weeks and for the foreseeable future, the DNSO has been and will remain actively investigating the presence of child predators that are utilizing social media and web based applications. Spearheaded by Deputy Asbury (currently assigned to the DNSO Investigations Unit) and with the assistance of an undercover decoy, an arrest was made recently that was quite disturbing. As all suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, the purpose of this post is to encourage parents to have a discussion with their children about the risks involved when associating with unknown people, especially via the internet.
The nearly 40-year-old adult male that we arrested began conversing with an individual that claimed to be a 14-year-old female. At the time of his arrest, he had no criminal history. They were conversing over the web-based application, MeetMe. He was less than honest about where he lived and his age. He encouraged the decoy to leave "her" house once her mother left for work. He specified a particular beach location to perform sexual acts at a scheduled time. He also brought specific items that we would rather not mention to utilize and give to the decoy. Instead of the decoy though, he met several DNSO deputies, including Deputy Asbury. He was arrested without incident, evidence was collected and the case has been forwarded to the District Attorney for review.
Deputy Asbury said "So much of the credit should go to the volunteer (he will remain unidentified for the sake of future investigations). This investigation began on the 9th of September and the arrest was made on the 26th. The volunteer stayed in communication with law enforcement, available and was very responsive." Deputy Asbury was not only impressed, but grateful.
We understand that putting out information like this could potentially alert other predators in our area, but we believe that in these particular circumstances, prevention outweighs the need to wait and catch people in the act. We must take an active role in the decisions our children make. We must be present, attentive and even invasive when it comes to how they communicate with strangers. We would prefer to prevent things like this from happening all together.
Sadly, there will always be an abundance of people waiting to victimize others, even when their potential victims are our children. We will continue to pursue them and utilize every resource we have to do so. We are asking anyone that has a positive influence over the children in our community to please have a difficult conversation with them. Also, check in on what they are doing and who they are doing it with.
Del Norte County is not immune to the scary reality of child predators. Predators are also not stupid. They are using technology and advanced forms of manipulation to prey on our youth.
We must simultaneously focus on prevention as well as apprehension/prosecution.
Sheriff Apperson said "This is what we are here to do. Investigations like this are some of the most challenging and rewarding to conduct. So often struggling adults were once tormented children. It's a terrible cycle that needs to be broken. We need to serve our children the best we can so that they have every possible chance to be healthy and successful. Deputy Asbury and everyone else that contributed to this investigation deserve to be appreciated and acknowledged, not just by me, but by everyone that cares about the safety and well being of children."