Internet allows sexual predators to easily feed their urge
Reporter: Claire Doan
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) – They look like us, they act like us, but they carry a deep dark secret that, thanks to the Internet, makes it easier for them to keep: Sexual predators looking for online images of children and often prey on them in real life.
A local security guard named Mitchell Beiro is still in jail tonight on suspicion of 15 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor. Tucson Police Department (TPD) said detectives found thousands of files on his computer showing child exploitation and fear there could be unreported victims of abuse.
As easy as it is to tap away on the keyboard in the comfort of your own home, Tucson Police warn that the Internet does not keep you anonymous.
“Nothing online or on the computers is non-traceable. Everything can be tracked back to someone,” said Sgt. Chris Widmer, spokesperson for TPD.
That is how detectives zeroed in on Beiro. 9 On Your Side obtained court documents that show the 47-year-old “admitted he had a problem with child pornography and had an attraction towards children.” In fact, the search warrant describes in explicit detail some of the files on the computer, many of children in sexual acts.
“Before the Internet, people interested in this type of activity didn’t have an easy way of going about it. The Internet makes all of this accessible to them,” Widmer said.
However, even after conviction, online access makes it tough to treat predators on probation.
Barbara Johnson, the supervisor of the Sex Offender Unit at Pima County’s Adult Probation Department, said: “Now the management of sex offenders is no longer confined to monitoring the behaviors and what you can see – but also monitoring their Internet activity,”
Johnson said the Internet adds layers of difficulty, with easy access from phones and computers everywhere, and warns that “there’s no such thing as just an Internet offender.”
“These guys are good at what they do. I hate to use the word ‘good’ with that, but they have finessed it. That’s why they are able to commit the offenses they commit and do it for such extended periods of time without being caught,” Johnson said.
Johnson added that recent studies show a strong link between going online to look at child pornography and sexually abusing children in real life. Tucson Police said three of the five Internet predators they caught recent admitted to touching children in real life.
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