5 busted in Alpharetta child exploitation case; How parents can protect their kids online
ALPHARETTA, Ga. - According to the Alpharetta Police Department five men were taken into custody after detectives posed as children in online chat rooms during a three-day sting in early December.
"The purpose was to have conversations with adults who are looking to solicit and or entice underage children for sexual acts or indecent purposes," said Alpharetta Police Lt. Andrew Splawn.
Related: 5 arrested in Alpharetta undercover child exploitation operation, 2 suspects at-large
(From top left to bottom right: Neal Wurtz, Erick Garcia Salinas, Jose Juan Hernandez, August Julien Rich, Douglas Earl Cropf Jr.) (Supplied)
It's one of the latest instances in a crime that representatives with the Childrens Advocacy Centers of Georgia (CACGA) say they see too often.
"We had heard the statistic that one in five children will be approached online for some form of sexual exploitation," said Amy Boney, the CEO of CACGA. "We did some informal polls with the youth that we were serving and what we found is it tended to be more along the lines of 50-70 percent of children were at least exposed people offering inappropriate pictures requesting pictures whether it's their own age group or whether it was adults."
Advocates say many times kids will be reluctant to come forward if it's happening to them.
"Especially the older they are. They're afraid to tell because they're afraid their devices to be taken from them. Or, the shame or fear that's instilled by the people who are exploiting them online is very present," Boney said.
That's why it's important for parents to monitor their kids' online activity, create a safe space to kids to share what's going on, and to contact law enforcement right away if they suspect their child is in danger.
"It's not a matter of the child being disciplined or being in trouble if their approached. It's a matter of who is safe for them to go to immediately," Boney said.
(From left to right: Tyquand Rashod Caldwell, Christopher Robert Frazier) (Supplied)
In the Alpharetta case, police say there are still two suspects at large. Officials are searching for 26-year-old Tyquand Caldwell and 43-year-old Christopher Frazier. If you have any information about their whereabouts, you're asked to call Alpharetta Police Department.