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Monday, December 9, 2019

Trinity Mount Ministries - NCMEC - Active Missing Children Posters / Active AMBER Alerts - UPDATE - 12/10/2019

Missing Children Posters Below

Active AMBER Alerts
NameMissing FromIssued ForAlert Date
Vanessa MoralesAnsonia, CTCTDec 4, 2019
Dulce AlavezBridgeton, NJNJSep 17, 2019

Notice: The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® certifies the posters on this site only if they contain the NCMEC logo and the 1-800-THE-LOST® (1-800-843-5678) number. All other posters are the responsibility of the agency whose logo appears on the poster.
Select an image to view the poster for one of these missing children.



Sunday, December 8, 2019

How to Protect Your Children From Online Sexual Predators


Credit...New Jersey State Police
By Michael
Sexual predators have found an easy access point into the lives of young people: They are meeting them online through multiplayer video games and chat apps, making virtual connections right in their victims’ homes.
Many of the interactions lead to crimes of “sextortion,” in which children are coerced into sending explicit imagery of themselves.
[Read The New York Times’s investigation into the problem.]
We asked two experts how families could best navigate gaming and other online activity that can expose children to sexual predators.
Dr. Sharon W. Cooper is a forensic pediatrician at the University of North Carolina and an expert on sexual exploitation. Michael Salter is an associate criminology professor at the University of New South Wales in Australia. Both are internationally recognized for their work in the field of child sexual abuse.

The following recommendations have been condensed and edited for clarity.
Dr. Cooper: The conversation on online safety should begin with a statement that there will be rules because a parent loves his or her children and wants to see them be safe and have the best that is in store for them.
I empower parents to know that they control access and should always exert that control. Research has shown that parents who mediate online behavior have the most resilient children. It is about time online (not too much), content (age-appropriate and prosocial) and parental empowerment (access is a gift, not a right).

Dr. Salter: Gaining some shared experience on a new service helps you identify risks, builds trust and provides an opportunity for nonconfrontational conversations. You can find out more about different platforms by going to trusted sources such as Common Sense Media and the eSafety commissioner website in Australia, which provide useful summaries of new apps and their safety features.
Dr. Salter: You can start by talking about our rights and responsibilities online. You can emphasize that, online, we have an obligation to treat people well, and a right to be treated well by others.
You can brainstorm with your child the kinds of situations where they might feel unsafe, and the strategies they can use to stay safe. Set reasonable rules, but keep the conversation open so they feel comfortable coming to you if something happens that concerns them.
We’ve had situations where children have stayed silent on really major sextortion cases for months because they were already in trouble online and didn’t want to be in trouble for breaking the rules, too. Groomers and abusers rely on silence.
Dr. Salter: Red flags that an online “friend” can’t be trusted: They tell the child to keep the relationship secret; they ask for a lot of personal information; they promise favors and gifts; they contact the child through multiple platforms and services; they initiate intimate discussions about the child’s appearance; and they insist on meeting face to face.
The first thing is for children to raise concerns with adults they trust. They should know never to send a nude image on the internet and remember they don’t have to do anything they don’t want to do. Their most common mistake is not listening to themselves when they feel uncomfortable.
Dr. Cooper: We try to avoid making children feel they are wholly responsible for their safety because if they fail, they develop significant guilt and self-blame. That being said, the most important warning signs are too much time online and angry reactions when parents put in a cease-and-desist order. Others are contact with a “voice” they do not recognize, and contact with someone requesting inappropriate behavior, including duping their parents.
Dr. Salter: While exploring a platform or app with your children, find out how to report and block users who make them feel unsafe. Encourage them to use this option if they receive unwanted or uncomfortable contact. If the user persists, contact your local police.
Dr. Salter: The first step is to remain nonjudgmental and reassure your children that they are not in trouble. Groomers rely on children feeling too ashamed to tell, so it’s important to be supportive.
The most common mistake parents make is embarrassment — being unable to create a space in their relationship with their children where it’s O.K. to discuss their emerging interest in sex. It’s really hard to talk to children about their sexuality.
Dr. Cooper: The industry is not about the business of promoting safety. I have yet to see a new cellphone purchase accompanied with a “How to keep your children safe with this device” pamphlet. We should empower children and show them how to report to trusted authorities.
To report online child sexual abuse or find resources for those in need of help, contact the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-843-5678.






Thursday, December 5, 2019

U.S. Attorney Announces Charges Against West Point Staff Sergeant For Distributing Child Pornography


Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced the arrest of PATRICK EDWIN GORYCHKA for distributing child pornography.  GORYCHKA was arrested yesterday and presented before U.S. Magistrate Judge Judith McCarthy in White Plains federal court and released on bail.
 According to the Complaint[1] filed yesterday in White Plains federal court:           
In October 2019, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”) received information from an FBI Online Undercover Employee (“UC-1”) concerning UC-1’s communications with an individual using the Kik user name “epg84” (“User-1”) in a Kik chat room known to be frequented by individuals with a sexual interest in children.  UC-1 identified himself as a 48-year-old uncle who had engaged in sex acts with his niece.  User-1, who identified himself as “Eric G.,” asked UC-1 for photos of UC-1’s niece.  UC-1 told User-1 that UC-1 had met a “pedo mom” (“UC-2”) in New York.  UC-1 told User-1 that “she keeps kids of illegals while they work for a couple weeks” and “makes some $ on the side.”  User-1 stated, “Omg that’s hot” and asked UC-1 to connect him to UC-2.   
Thereafter, UC-2, going by the name “Jane,” and User-1 engaged in numerous communications from in or about October 31, 2019, through in or about November 16, 2019.  During these communications, User-1 said he was interested in “preteens” and told UC-2, “I heard that you could potentially facilitate certain things.”  User-1 said that he was interested in a “similar setup” as UC-1 and told UC-2, “I have money.” 
On November 2, 2019, User-1 transmitted two links to Mega, a New Zealand-based cloud storage platform that permits users to store and share ESI, including images and videos. [2]  Both links contained numerous images and videos of children engaging in sexually explicit activity.
*                *                *
GORYCHKA, 37, of New Windsor, New York, is charged with one count of distribution and receipt of child pornography, which carries a minimum sentence of five years in prison and a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.  The statutory minimum and maximum sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.
Mr. Berman praised the efforts of the FBI, West Point’s Criminal Investigation Division, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Town of New Windsor Police Department, in connection with this investigation.  He added that the investigation is ongoing.                     
The prosecution is being handled by the Office’s White Plains Division.  Assistant United States Attorney Marcia S. Cohen is in charge of the prosecution.  

[1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Complaint and the description of the Complaint set forth herein constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.
[2] With respect to Mega, a user can send a link to a Mega cloud account to another person.  Once the link to the Mega cloud account is transmitted, the person who clicks on the link to the cloud account can access, view, and download the files contained in that Mega cloud account.

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Component(s): 
Contact: 
Jim Margolin, Nicholas Biase (212) 637-2600
Press Release Number: 
19-414



Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Here's How Pedophiles Trick Your Kids Through Video Games



"I've seen kids as young as 6 sexually abuse their siblings at the demand of the predator," said an HPD officer.

Author: Melissa Correa

HOUSTON — Want to feel old? Try to play a current video game.

You're no longer limited to playing with one other person who is sitting right next to you.

"And you probably had to stay in your living room, right? Now, every kid has cellphones and iPads and we give them all this access to the world," said Houston Police Department Sergeant Luis Menendez-Sierra.



Menedez Sierra leads the Houston Police Department's online child sex crimes unit. A lot of the cases are linked to online video games designed for children.

"The video games, parents kind of have this false, safe feeling. Oh, well he’s just playing a video game," said Menendez-Sierra. "But you don’t even think that some of these safe games that are tailored for children, specifically have dangers, because they have chat options, where they can chat with other people."

And not just text chats, which are offered in games likes Fortnite and Roblox. Video games like Minecraft now offer a voice chat option.

And while popular games offer a "kids only" version, videos posted on YouTube can walk you through ways to "hack" into a kid game server.

"You have to be cautious," urges the police sergeant. "Because just as easily as your child logged in as a 9-year old is as easy as I can go in there and pretend to be a 9-year old."

While many parents know that pedophiles look for ways to interact with their children in video games, Menendez-Sierra explains how it all happens.

And it doesn't happen immediately. We're talking months that the predator is chatting with a child while pretending to be a kid, too.

"That’s where they develop that relationship. That’s where they develop that trust. Let’s say you’re playing with me, some game where we’re working as a team. You’re developing a relationship with that person where you begin to trust them. You say, you have my back, right? In the video game, not knowing that the ulterior motive is to get to your child."


AN EXAMPLE OF HOW THE ONLINE CONVERSATION PROGRESSES

Hey, how are you?

What's your name?                                                             
Where do you live?
                                                                              Do you play often?

What games do you like to play?

**time passes, trust is built**

Do you have a boyfriend or girlfriend?

Why don't you?

Have you ever done this or that?

**more time passes**

Do you have another device where we can talk?

Do you know how we can share pictures?

I want to see what you look like.

**it progresses from there**

"The next thing you know," says Menendez-Sierra, "inappropriate pictures are exchanged and that's where it barrels out of control."

A LOOK AT THE CASE LOAD

If you think conversations like that are rare, you're wrong. Menendez-Sierra says Houston police are tracking a 200% increase in cyber tips reported in the last three years. He reminds us that a lot of these cases start with that simple video game chat.

"Once they get that one picture, let’s say there’s a picture that’s inappropriate. That the child sends an inappropriate picture, they’ve gotten them, coerced them to do that? It can lead to exploitation."

Police have stacks of evidence that shows how the predator convinces the child to do outrageous things in an effort to get more photos.

"And once the child says, no, well guess what? I know everything about you. I know all your friends. I know all your family. I know what school you go to and I'm going to send them that picture you sent me before, if you don't send me a picture now."

Houston police detectives have seen horrific instances where children have even sexually abused their siblings at the demand of a predator.

"I've seen some as young a six," said Menendez-Sierra who is a husband and father.

He says a lot of the victims have no idea what's going on, because they're growing up in a #SelfieCulture, where it's normal to see adults and older children take photo and photo of themselves.

WHAT CAN YOU DO TO PROTECT YOUR CHILD?

1) Install monitoring software:

"You do have to pay for the good ones, and it’s worth every penny."

2) Make sure your child only plays the games in front of you.

3) Turn off wi-fi at night-- because kids can also access games through devices        distributed by their school, or from a pedophile who is worried communication      may be limited.

WHAT IF YOU FIND SOMETHING CONCERNING ON A DEVICE?

If you find something concerning on your child's device do not delete the content. Police need you to preserve as much evidence as possible. Take screen shots. Get user names. Save the chats. Do not respond to the person who is communicating with your child. Don't give them a reason to vanish. Collect as much information as possible and call police.

HOW TO LEARN MORE

Houston Police use NETSMARTZ when giving presentations to parents. There is also kid-appropriate training material for kids as young as kindergarten. 
NETSMARTZ is a resource built by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children which offers more resources AND offers the option for someone to make a CYBER TIP. You can also call in a tip about cyber crimes against children through a free 24-hour hotline: 1-800-843-5678.
Houston police are a part of this federal task force. You can learn more at ICACtaskforce.org 
The FBI also offers online resources about all of the ways and reasons predators want to access children. 


Monday, November 25, 2019

Trinity Mount Ministries - NCMEC - Active Missing Children Posters / Active AMBER Alerts - UPDATE - 12/07/2019

Missing Children Posters Below

Active AMBER Alerts
NameMissing FromIssued ForAlert Date
Vanessa MoralesAnsonia, CTCTDec 4, 2019
Dulce AlavezBridgeton, NJNJSep 17, 2019

Notice: The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® certifies the posters on this site only if they contain the NCMEC logo and the 1-800-THE-LOST® (1-800-843-5678) number. All other posters are the responsibility of the agency whose logo appears on the poster.
Select an image to view the poster for one of these missing children.