MCLENNAN COUNTY, Texas – 18 out of 20 individuals engaging in alleged sex crimes involving children are in custody after an investigation led by the McLennan County Sheriff’s Office.
“Your children are sitting in front of their devices a lot more with everybody having their shelter in place orders and the kids not being in school,” said Joseph Scaramucci, a human trafficking detective.
McLennan County deputies say apparently your children aren’t the only ones more active online lately.
“Predators also fall subject to shelter in place order and are spending time on the internet as well so I definitely encourage you to monitor your children’s social media and monitor what they’re doing on the internet,” Scaramucci said.
the potential charges the 18 of 20 individuals face so far range from sex with a minor, manufacturing of child pornography, online solicitation and prostitution of a minor.
From this investigation deputies determined that there’s no indication that there’s been an increase or decrease in sexual trafficking since the outbreak of COVID-19.
Deputies say they didn’t specifically target any suspects. They simply set up online profiles that appeared to be minors on different apps.
“We had one individual that was trying to furnish what he believed to be a teen with methamphetamine and liquor so had that individual had what he wanted he would’ve had a child high on methamphetamine and drunk on alcohol while having sex with them,” Scaramucci told Fox 44.
Deputies say they’re hoping this investigation sends a clear message to parents that just because their kids are safe at home, that doesn’t mean they are free from predators looking for an opportunity.
“The biggest message for parents is if you do come across these things on your child’s phone, don’t lose your mind, talk to your child and figure out what you can do to fix the problem and not punish the child. These people are looking for your kids and they’re the ones that are causing it. Not the children,” he said.