North Carolina Department of Justice
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SBI uses new law to stop online predator

Release date: 8/17/2006

Salisbury: North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation agents are using a new law to catch child predators, including as part of an investigation that led to the arrest today of the Chief of Police of Landis, NC on felony charges of child solicitation and child pornography.

“Unfortunately child predators can be anyone,” said Attorney General Roy Cooper. “Our investigators are working to hunt down these predators, no matter how they prey on children or who they are.”

Charles Raymond Childers, age 50, of China Grove was arrested today on federal charges in Guilford County. The case is being prosecuted by U.S. Attorney Anna Mills Wagoner of the Middle District of North Carolina.

“Today’s arrest shows once again that our children, to whom the Internet is increasingly accessible, are vulnerable,” said Wagoner, “and we will continue to search for and prosecute those who prey on their naivete and innocence. In addition, I strongly encourage all parents to be aware of what their children are doing on the Internet.”

Childers was arrested in an undercover operation carried out by the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force in North Carolina and Michigan and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. According to the SBI, Childers had sexually graphic conversations online with an undercover SBI agent posing as a teenage girl and also sent child pornography and transmitted sexual images of himself.

Last year, Cooper pushed through a new law that makes it a felony for an Internet predator to solicit anyone, including an undercover officer, he or she believes to be a child. The law also requires convicted online predators to join the state’s Sex Offender Registry and to provide DNA samples for the state’s convicted offender database.

The SBI Computer Crimes Unit has trained more than 80 investigators across North Carolina to use the new law to go online and catch predators before they hurt children. More trainings are scheduled in Raleigh and Charlotte in the near future.

The SBI, a part of Cooper’s N.C. Department of Justice, leads the North Carolina Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force. Cooper recently won funding for two new SBI agents to investigate computer crimes and one new computer forensic experts for the SBI Crime Lab.

SBI agents work with other law enforcement agencies to investigate dozens of cases each year where predators try to befriend children online for illicit purposes. Just last week, online predators in Orange, Cumberland and Person counties were arrested by local law enforcement for trying to solicit children.

“Child predators are cruising the Internet in search of their next victims,” said Cooper. “But our investigators are online, working to catch them before they can reach our children.”

Cooper has also partnered with law enforcement and child safety experts including the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to give parents and teachers the tools they need to protect children from online threats. Videos and resource guides, entitled “Internet Safety: What You Don’t Know Can Hurt Your Child,” are available along with other resources at www.ncdoj.gov 

 

  Contact:  Noelle Talley (919) 716-6413