Sixty-year-old Harold Pritchard of Tatamy, Pennsylvania was arrested on Friday for traveling to Raleigh County to be involved sexually with a 15-year-old female. According to the Raleigh County Sheriff’s Office, Pritchard met the girl online and is being held on a $75,000 bond.
Deputies with the “Internet Crimes Against Children Unit” say that they are seeing cases just like Pritchard’s occur more often.
“With social media as popular as it is with children, it’s becoming more common than we’d like,” said Raleigh County Deputy, Wayne Long.
Deputy Long says it is not just on Facebook where minors are coming in contact with child predators, but almost any social media site can make it possible. Deputy Long added, “A lot of these online predators are manipulative. They’ve been doing this for a long time. They kind of know what they’re doing as far as getting in the mind of a child, and talk them into meeting them.”
So what can parents do to protect their children’s safety during online activity? Deputy Long says the first step is to always monitor all of your child’s social media accounts, as well as making sure you know who is on their friends list.
“Save the communication between the child and whoever their communicating with. You can contact the site manager as far as which ever online, social media site they are using. You can also contact your internet service provider. That way they can restore that conversation. Then, contact law enforcement,” said Deputy Long.