Prosecuting attorney talks internet safety for kids after child enticement case

STODDARD COUNTY, Mo. (KFVS) – A Dexter man was found guilty of Enticement of a child, after police say he tried to lure an underage girl. Officials are warning parents to look out for predators like him online.

“This case should be kind of a reminder there’s bad people out there on the other end of those phones,” Russ Oliver, Stoddard County Prosecuting Attorney said

Police said 42-year-old Robert Cooper, used Facebook Messenger to lure a 13-year-old girl, but he was actually talking to a woman in Wayne County, Missouri.

“They arranged a meeting at a motel in Dexter and he shows up, he has a duffle bag of sex apparatus, hand cuffs and rope. Instead of meeting a 13-year-old girl, he met the Dexter police department,” Oliver said.

Oliver shared the man was communicating with other people, posing as teenagers, via social media.

According to CBS News, calls to the National Center for missing and exploited children for child exploitation online surged 35 percent.

“Predators love apps that delete messages. So, Snapchat, things like that, your kid should not have apps that delete the evidence of predators that would be seeking out your children,” Oliver said.

Oliver explained on a lot of messenger apps, your location is shown to the person you are messaging by default. He suggests limiting who sees.

“You need to understand emojis. Kids use emojis and symbols to talk in a code speak. Get online; figure out what they are so you understand what your kids are saying,” Oliver said.

Oliver emphasized it is important to stop “monsters” like these. He doesn’t want your child to be a victim.

“It’s a very, very troubling case that really should be a wakeup call for families about their kids being on social media and the dangers that lie out there for them,” Oliver said.

If you believe you know someone is trying to lure a child or a child being lured online, please contact your local police department.

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