“In most cases, the enemy is not a faceless stranger, but a known and trusted neighbor, a coach, or even a family member.”
Investigators say it is one of the biggest threats to our children, and it’s also growing.
Predators are looking to exploit them online and through apps on their phones today in the first of a three-part series.
We are giving you a closer look at who these accused predators are, and we take you inside the worst kind of cases.
Brandi is here this morning, and this is essential information for parents.
Brandi, it is because you are spot on target.
You know it’s growing.
It is happening more often, and I know it may not be the type of story you want your kids to be sitting and watching with you this morning.
So kind of a warning for you because it is graphic, and some of these things are hard to hear, but it’s crucial.
I sat down with the new head of the FBI in Seattle yesterday, and he was talking about how he was surprised when he came here.
So this morning, we want to take you into the minds of these predators.
How many of these child exploitation cases do they have.
Come from all walks of life, while many start by lurking online, living closer to your family than you think.
It begins with a few keystrokes trolling through the internet for their darkest fantasies, but behind each username is a person looking for a child to meet in real life.
Did you realize how much demand there was for this? No, I had no idea.
I couldn’t believe what was out there.
With the Washington state patrol, Sergeant Carlos Rodriguez has helped arrest more than 60 suspected child predators through an undercover operation called net nanny.
Almost all accused of trying to buy sex with young children, tempted rape of a child first degree, an attempted commercial sexual abuse of a minor.
Forty-nine-year-old Eric Jacobson, a father of two from Enumclaw Washington, is among those arrested.
Jacobson is accused and found guilty of trying to buy sex with eight and eleven-year-old girls.
He maintained his innocence at sentencing last week as sergeant Rodriguez sat in the courtroom.
Jacobson stated, “I choose to put my fate in the hands of twelve unknown people because I believe in my innocence. Unfortunately, these jurors thought differently, and I stand here today, having been found guilty of the charges.”
They still profess their innocence to people who can’t understand why people think it’s wrong, and some think it is normal.
They say just put this in there.
Randolph krantz from fall city is also among those who sergeant Rodriguez and his team have arrested.
Krantz drove to this Snohomish county home, expecting to meet a mother and her child. He, Krantz, is now charged with attempted child rape and commercial sex abuse of a minor; perhaps there is a good chance that one or more of the Operation Net Nanny suspects live close to your family.
Suspects come from more than 30 cities across Washington.
It is easy to say the size of Seattle skews the data touching all areas.
So, Seattle probably would have this kind of a problem.
No, we’ve made arrests in Washington, coulee city, toledo, Washington.
Spokane Seattle police captain mike Edwards heads up an internet crimes against children task force, one of more than 60 nationwide.
Recently a school bus driver was arrested for showing up in the school bus, sitting there with nearly $50,000.
They are usually within a short drive or short distance away from the location where they will have sex.
The standard sentence range is 26 to 34 months Cecelia Gregson, a king county senior deputy prosecutor works alongside Captain Edwards. Her job is to prosecute adults who exploit children, whether it’s online or in real life.
I am asking the court to impose a 30-month prison sentence. The defendant is not a first-time offender. He has a criminal history most of my defendants, I would say, have family, and they have jobs. They would be considered middle class. Completely dumbfounded when the people in their lives realized that this had been going on under their noses.
Some suspects shall come across more than once 50-year-old todd rick dahl had already served time for attempted child molestation when he was arrested earlier this month for again trying to meet a child for sex.
Crimes against children are disgusting.
Although there has to be fear, there has to be a consequence.
If you get caught doing this or harm a child, you’re going to be held accountable, but no matter how many suspects are arrested or put behind bars, there is no shortage of new cases.
The first stop we did, we posted an ad, we had over a hundred responses in less than ten minutes.
You could give me 50, 60, 70 people and would still be tons of work, and you have how many I have two detectives and me.
Coming up tomorrow at the same time, we’re going to take you into the lives of those investigators.
You just met and talked about the emotional toll reality this type of work can take on them and what I think.
It is interesting.
I hope parents out there will take away from these investigators are parents as well, and doing this job has changed the way a lot of the parents and their kids will have some helpful advice.
For parents who are wondering, how do I protect my kids, for not only this type of stuff you know where they are trying to meet children in person.
Also, a lot of this exploitation happens over the apps the kids have on their phones.
Your child might end up sending someone who they think is maybe a cute boy, but it is a predator, a photo, and then they use the picture to extort them.
So those are the types of cases we are going to be discussing.
As well, and I am embarrassed to admit.
I feel a little naive.
I’ve heard of this being something that happens.
I always have associated it with being somewhere else, and that’s a national thing.
It doesn’t happen here, but you are localizing it with your stories.
Crimes against children are different here.
Compared to other regions, how widespread is it? Yes, with the highest rates of child exploitation here in the entire country.
You are right.
Knowing child predation is a local problem is heartbreaking.
We always think it is somewhere else.
It is someone, somewhere else, and that is not going to happen here to me.
However, we do have some of the highest rates of child exploitation.
One of the reasons Captain Edwards says they think the case is because we are a huge tech hub here in Seattle. We have a lot of technology, so we talk about issues like child pornography and internet crimes against children.
We do tend to, unfortunately, have more cases.
So a downside to how far we have come as a city and technology.
But you know it was so interesting to hear as they talked about these specific cases, where people were going to meet.
Who they thought was a child.
Who, thankfully, was an undercover detective.
Where they are not coming from another part of the country or another country.
There were cases where a guy in the same apartment complex the undercover operation was running.
The suspect came from the same apartment complex to try to meet a child.
Or going down the street or into a different neighborhood, these live in our towns.
In our cities, they come across to everyone, even the people in their lives, as ordinary individuals.
And that is that’s the most frightening thing.
You know, next door to you, yeah real quick, I had gotten a message from the wife ex-wife of one of the suspects who we were featuring.
Saying she never had any idea until he was arrested and moved across the country to get away from it.
You had no idea; yes, we will find out more tomorrow as the series continues.
Brandi, thank you.
By Brandi Kruse Published December 9, 2016 FOX13 News Seattle Washington KCPQ