Children fall prey to adults

Thanks to the cooperation of law enforcement officials from Prattville and Shelby County, a man from Wilsonville accused of using his computer to solicit sex with a 14-year-old girl has been taken off the streets.

This case was an outstanding example of cooperation between law enforcement agencies, but it should also serve as a chilling wakeup call to parents everywhere.

Here was a case in which the potential victim lived miles away from the alleged predator. The man reportedly thought the teenage girl lived in Autauga County.

Thankfully, in this the case, the 14-year-old in question was actually an adult pretending to be a teen as part of a sting by the Prattville Computer Forensics Unit.

As a result, along with Shelby County Sheriff&8217;s deputies, the man was arrested at his home and transported to the Autauga Metro Jail.

An investigation by the Prattville Police Department led to 20 counts of soliciting a child by computer. He was also charged with transmitting obscene material to a child and possession of child pornography.

We encourage parents to be keenly aware of their children&8217;s activities. With the Internet at their fingertips, young people can converse with others via email, chat rooms and Web sites.

Without parental supervision or secure websites, children cannot tell if the person on the other end is an adult trying to lure them in to take advantage.

According to the United States Department of Justice, there were 1,139 arrests for online child exploitation crimes across the nation in the first half of 2007.

Anyone interested in the safety of children should check the Shelby County Sheriff&8217;s Department registry of sex offenders. It tells who lives where and for what crime they were convicted