BEAVERTON, OR (KPTV) – The Washington County Sheriff’s Office is providing tips to help keep kids safe after two men were arrested and accused of luring underage kids.
Deputies have arrested Ricardo Infante-Perez and Lafayette Castillo, charging them multiple crimes, including rape and sexual abuse.
The sheriff’s office says child luring is a bigger problem than you might think. They say social media apps, including Snapchat, Instagram, and TikTok, are some of the biggest ways child predators try to find young kids.
“Almost anything you can think of where you’re going to be able to have one-on-one chats or interactions, that’s an opportunity for a child predator,” Mark Povolny with the sheriff’s office said.
The Washington County Sheriff’s Office says two men managed to make contact with minors online. As deputies investigated, they discovered more victims. They’re still trying to determine in each case if there are more victims than they know about. They say these kinds of crimes are becoming a pervasive threat.
“It is shockingly easy to pretend to be a child and have conversations with adults,” Povolny said. “When we do that, we’re overwhelmed with conversations from people who know we’re pretending to be a child and are still willing to talk to us even in very, very inappropriate ways.”
Detectives say this doesn’t mean it’s time to panic and pull kids off social media.
“We don’t expect kids to stay off the internet, that’s not realistic in our world, and there’s lots of great things about it,” Povolny said. “They use it for school and they need to know how to use it responsibly as they grow up.”
But they say it’s important that parents are checking in with their kids and educating them on responsible internet behavior.
“Parents have got to be having specific discussions with their children about what these things look like, what to be aware of, how to protect themselves and who to talk to if something happens,” Povolny said.
Detectives say to check in on who your kids are talking to and to be aware of anyone asking for personal information or anyone who tries to move them from a public forum to a more private way of chatting.
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