TULSA, Okla. — A child predator can enter your home without ever stepping foot inside.
The Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office (TCSO) said they likely will at some point.
“It is a matter of when, not if, when a predator reaches out to your kid,” Detective Jason Weis explained.
Weis is the lead detective of the TSCO Child Predator Unit. He goes undercover online as a minor and waits for predators to private message him.
“We have gotten 25 people this year,” Weis told FOX23.
One of them, Orville King, was arrested by TCSO last week for allegedly sending nude photos to who he thought was a minor and asking for pictures in return.
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“Very manipulative, and they are very convincing. They use love, affection, gifts — those types of things to get that child’s attention,” Weis explained.
His job is to expose the people responsible and prevent them from hurting children.
“Half of those guys when I got them in the interview room they cried like little babies,” he said.
But if parents aren’t aware, they can be dangerous. Wednesday night parents, loved ones and anyone wanting to learn sat in on a free forum hosted by TCSO and the Demand Project.
The Demand Project helps spread awareness on human trafficking and helps victims heal, and Weis’ Child Predator Unit made sure parents were educated on what to look for. Like predators grooming children online. They emphasized the dangers of Facebook, Snapchat, and other apps. Two important apps Weis is emphasizing are Whisper and Kik.
“They are nothing but horrible apps that are a hub for predators and there is also a lot of child pornography stuff that is traded within those apps so those are two apps that should not be in any kids phone,” he said.
Aside from being tech savvy, he told parents the most important conversations you can have with your child are offline.
“You have to be continuous in these conversations with the kids and let them know you have got their back,” Weis said. “Create an environment in your house where it’s okay to come to you and say listen this is what is happening. This guy is saying this and that to me.”
That’s why local mother Kim Mook attended the forum.
“I think sometimes my 6-year-old granddaughter can say something that she can’t say to her parents, so I just want to be cognizant and aware of what is going on,” she said.
She came last minute for her daughter. Mook plans to pass the information along to after the forum.
“It doesn’t take much and there is a whole world open to them that I didn’t have when I was young it’s really scary,” she said.
She loves her granddaughter very much.
“Oh my gosh, she is the bomb,” she said.
As Weis mentioned, her being here shows, she has her families back.
“We just don’t want anything to happen,” Weis said.
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