By David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network
Due to the high-profile cases of Jessica Lunsford, Carlie Brucia and Sarah Lunde, the Florida Legislature expanded the Jacksonville-based Child Predator CyberCrime Unit 10-fold, which included adding a wide array of detectives, prosecutors and victim advocates. The unit had five offices statewide and made hundreds of arrests. The unit became so noteworthy that its director made an appearance on “Oprah,” and was held out as a model for cracking down on sexual predators who use the Internet in their abusive acts. Although the unit appears to be one of the state’s valuable resources, it was not prevented from falling victim to Gov. Rick Scott’s vigorous budget cuts. The program’s staff was dramatically decreased from a 34-person staff to just 15 and were moved to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. The proposed plan is to keep only 6 out of the 15 investigators statewide. Critics of the cutbacks are concerned that the FDLE will not have the resources to implement the labor-intensive online investigations the unit’s staff is use to conducting. For more details and criticisms read Gov. Rick Scott cuts back Florida CyberCrime Unit.
To keep children safe from online sexual predators, parents or guardians should use the privacy settings on their home computers. Parents and guardians should monitor their child’s Internet use and block websites they fear subject their children to possibly coming into contact with sexual predators.