12-Year Old Girl Helps Police Nab Internet Predator

This is a great story and one that I hope other children of this age will remember:

Hampton girl, 12, helps police nab Internet predator
From the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
A Hampton girl is being credited with bringing an Internet predator to justice — and potentially saving the life of a friend.

Jennifer Yeager, 12, a sixth-grader at Hampton Middle School, went to her friend’s mother when she became concerned about the nearly yearlong relationship her friend had developed with a man on the computer. It progressed to telephone calls, sexually explicit conversations, him sending her nude pictures, and there was talk of meeting in person.

Jennifer also helped police by telling them what she knew. Her cooperation led to the arrest of Touray M. Skinner, 48, of Barnegat, N.J., who pleaded no contest to charges in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court in January and who is now serving seven years’ probation.

“I think the little girl is a hero,” said Hampton police Officer Tom Vulakovich, one of the officers who began investigating the case in January 2007. “She turned the tables on a predator. I think the prey became smarter than the predator.

Vulakovich said there were indications Skinner had online contact with other young girls.

“It’s what we teach kids about Internet safety to do in a situation like this. It is exactly what that little girl did,” he said.

Hampton Council recently recognized Jennifer with an Outstanding Citizen citation.

“That a student in the middle school at that age actually would make the effort to cooperate with the authorities and put somebody like that behind bars should be recognized in the community,” said council President Victor Son.

Jennifer and her friend, who was not identified, were both 11 when Skinner first made contact with them through a chat room in the spring of 2006, police said. Jennifer refused to talk with him, but her friend did. Over the course of their talks, his age varied from 15 to into the 30s.

During one chat session, when both girls told the man they were only 11, his response was, “I don’t care. I’m a child molester,” according to court documents.

“I’m proud I helped my friend, and I was willing to be there by her side,” Jennifer said. “I love my friend very much.”

Her mother, Vicki Yeager, said she’s proud of her daughter.

“It’s surprising how easily these things can happen, especially when you have a computer. There’s so many different kind of people you can talk to, some good, some bad. It’s amazing how easily these predators can go on the computer and say things that make a younger girl feel good about herself,” said Yeager, 52.

“I’m glad that she came forward. It could have definitely gone in another direction for both of them.”

Jennifer Yeager said she thinks Skinner deserved more than probation. She’s happy her friend is safe, and not chatting as much on the computer anymore.
“I would just tell the other kids my age to keep their head up high in situations like this, if they would even be in this situation. Think before you act,” she said.

I posted the full story there because it is so good. This is clearly the case of a girl who has a head on her shoulders and knows the right thing to do. Her friend, however, not so much… and the sad fact is that the “friend” is the majority of kids today.

It’s too easy to go right to this, but since it is the MO of this blog, I must: what the hell were the parents doing and thinking to let their 11 year old girl go in any chatrooms unsupervised?! I hope they realize their mistake and realize they owe little Ms. Yeager big time. I hope that other parents out there, just as much as they feel good when reading about Jennifer, also are shocked and mortified at the [not so good] parenting here and realize that these guys are out there and the are blatantly befriending your kids.

“I don’t care. I’m a child molester”…!!!!!????

C’mon parents. Wake up! This isn’t fear-mongering as some may want you to belive – it’s simple reality. Letting your kids play on the internet is not like letting them play outside in the fenced-in back yard… or even in the open street for that matter (which they should be doing instead of sitting on the computer to begin with – don’t get me started)… monitor your children’s PC activity! There is no excuse not to.

Kids are using 21st century technology in their lives without any notion of the consequences, because today it is the norm. That is an uncontrolable reality. But what is controllable is that you, as parents, must use 21st century technology to help safeguard them. Failing to do so is the epitome of ignorance and responsibility of today’s parents.

PC Pandora monitoring software is the best tool you can get to get the job done!

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