Local News

State AG Wants To Protect Children From Online Predators

Posted May 20, 2005 5:45 a.m. EDT

— State Attorney General Roy Cooper said one out of every five children have received an unwanted sexual solicition online, so he is going on the offensive.

Cooper is pushing a bill that would require convicted Internet predators to register as sex offenders. It also makes it a felony when a predator solicits an undercover officer posing as a child. Right now, it is a misdemeanor.

"The number of kids that have been exploited has just exploded over the past few years," he said.

According to the

National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

in 2001, there were 11 cases of children talked into meeting a predator in person in North Carolina. In 2004, that number jumped to 533.

Cooper has been contacting PTAs and talking with parents' groups about what they should do. He said the bill passed the Senate and is hoping it will pass the House.

A public awareness campaign is under way to educate parents and lawmakers about the dangers children face dealing with online solicitation.