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Expert Comes to Springfield to Discuss Protecting Kids from Online Predators


This evening at 6:30 in Springfield, parents will have a chance to hear from a veteran detective who is an expert in protecting children from online sexual predators. KSMU's Missy Shelton reports.

This evening at 6:30 in Springfield, parents will have a chance to hear from a veteran detective who is an expert in protecting children from online sexual predators.

Robert Farley works as a consultant with the international law enforcement agency INTERPOL on international child sexual exploitation. He's retired from the Cook County Sheriff's Department.

Farley says this isn't his first trip to Springfield.

You may have seen the work of network television journalist Chris Hanson whose program about online sexual predators aired last night. He works with local law enforcement and a private citizens group called Perverted Justice. Members of the group pose as minors and arrange meetings with online predators. When the predators arrive for what they think is a meeting with an underage girl or boy, the authorities are waiting to arrest them.

Farley was one of the pioneers of undercover internet investigations.

Farley says access is key for online predators because the internet gives them access to kids and teens that they otherwise might not have.

Farley says it's important to remember the internet isn't just available to kids on computers. He says parents need to be as tech savvy as sexual predators who are finding new ways to reach kids.

Farley says there are some practical rules parents can establish to protect their kids while they're on the computer at home.

If you'd like to hear more from Robert Farley about protecting children from online sexual predators, he'll be speaking this evening at 6:30 on the Missouri State University campus in the Carrington Hall Theatre. His presentation is designed for parents, law enforcement and anyone who works with children. The event is free.