Man abused schoolgirls he met online | Stuff.co.nz
An online predator used social networking site Bebo to prey on schoolgirls, sexually abusing two he befriended through the internet.
Police said the pool of potential victims was growing by the day as more children turned to social networking sites and showed the ease with which predators could strike.
Douglas Charles Segetin, 23, was sentenced in Wellington District Court after pleading guilty to three charges of unlawful sexual connection with underage girls.
Both Wellington girls were 14 when the offences took place in April and July last year.
Police E-Crime manager Maarten Kleintjes said sexual predators were stalking victims on Bebo, which was popular with teenage girls.
“They can do it from the comfort of their own home and stalk anyone they meet on the internet. It makes the possible victim pool a lot larger,” Mr Kleintjes said.
Judge Susan Thomas said in court that Segetin met his first victim through Bebo. On April 25 he picked her up and drove her to an isolated spot near the Hutt River, where he smoked cannabis. Later he sexually assaulted her. The next day he took her to another area where they had sexual intercourse in his car.
Segetin also met the second girl on Bebo. On July 4 he went with her to a bottle store before driving to Kaitoke Regional Park. He then took the girl to a secluded area at the Hutt River.
“At this stage the girl was extremely intoxicated. Sexual intercourse then took place,” Judge Thomas said. “You knew she was just 14 and went to college.”
Segetin was sentenced to 12 months’ home detention, community work of 150 hours, and ordered to pay reparation totalling $4500. He must live with his parents and is not allowed to have a computer or mobile phone that can access the internet.
He is also banned from associating with anyone under the age of 15 without permission from his parole officer and must complete a comprehensive rehabilitation programme for sexual offenders.
One of his victims told The Dominion Post she was disappointed with the sentence.
“Just because he has home detention doesn’t mean anything. He will just be able to go out and do it again.”
Her mother also had doubts about the sentence.
“If I had a guarantee that he would never do this to anyone else then I’m happy. But if I find that he does this again once his home detention is finished, then I would be gutted.
“I don’t want anyone else’s family to go through this.”
She also doubted Segetin’s use of the internet during his detention period could be monitored.
The article continues with a victim impact statement of both the victim and her mother.What follows below is too late for the victim and her mother but hopefully it will contribute to preventing others from becoming prey to these horrible practices. Take some time with your child / teenager and discuss this all, for their sake and yours.
Online Networking and Child Safety
(This post was originally written and posted here>>>)
Over 80% of the Kiwis have Internet access and over 45% of the people using the internet are active or less active in some way on social networking sites like Facebook, Myspace, and the many others that are around. For New Zealand youngsters Bebo seems to be a favorite.
Social Networking sites have become places where the young hang out to meet new people and to chat with friends, to share content such as pictures and videos. As such there is nothing wrong with that. Our daily lives more and more have a virtual reality to them, that is just part of the technological and social developments. There are good reasons to promote online networking activities and participation in interest groups and networking sites online. John Stephen Veitch of Adapt to Experience, a Christchurch consultant and acquaintance, offers some valuable insights on the benefits of active participation in the online world as well as helpful advise on how to get started.
But there is another side to this as well especially where it concerns the safety of your child. In a recent Crime Scene documentary (TV1), researchers posing as 14 year old teenage girls started to hang out on (social networking) sites to find that within the shortest period of time they were receiving sexually explicit texts and images as well as invitations to meet.
In my personal opinion, it is important that we as society but especially as parents, we make our children aware that there is a darker side to the internet and that abuse, especially of younger people (children/teenagers) is a realistic possibility.
Teenagers, having the hormones raging through their bodies, usually have better computer skills than judgment capabilities.Although there are indications that younger people get more savvy and alert, one victim is still too much.
Child Abuse Online
The rise in online networking has made life considerably easier for those with less noble intentions, also for child abusers.
Online sexual offending in broad terms can be categorised in three groups:
- Grooming: engaging in sexually explicit chat with a view to meet for sexual purposes
- Sexual exploitation short of real life meeting (cybersex chat with underaged people)
- Child Pornography: Sending explicit material to children, luring or forcing children into providing sexually explicit material of themselves or others, the distribution of such material.
Higher Victimisation Risk Groups
Overseas studies of arrested offenders have found that many of them had relationships with children. These predators know exactly what too look for just like fraudsters know how to spot an easy mark.
Children with a higher risk of being a victim of such abuse are most often found to be:
- from dysfunctional and/or impoverished backgrounds
- socially alienated
- depressed or suffering from other mental or emotional issues
Besides that, youngsters are found to not always be aware of the risks. A study that was published in the February 2007 issue of the Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine reported on the assessment of 9 types of behavior that are generally associated with higher risks such as giving out personal details, talking with strangers. sexual behavior and peer to peer downloading of files.
It was found that 75% of the youth interviewed admitted to engage in at least one category of the assessed behavior. 20+ percent admitted to being involved in four or more risk enhancing behaviors, which would mean an eleven times higher change of becoming a victim.
The Water Bed Effect
With MySpace having set of on a new course by appointing a Chief Security Officer, hiring a police liaison officer, setting off public service announcements together with the NCMEC, the deletion of already well past a quarter of a million profiles that do not comply with the user policies (too young, too explicit) some are looking for other alternatives and that is where sites with less strict policies or less strictly enforced policies come in like Stickam (www.stickam.com) or LiveLeak or Daily Motion.
The Downside of Enhanced Security Features
Where these social networking sites make life a lot easier for predators, we see at the same time that life gets harder and harder for those that are involved in investigating these types of crimes.
We see a vast growth in tools that make it possible to hide or spoof identities and IP addresses, decentralised P2P networks, encryption, and so on. Virtually every day new tools appear on the market that it harder and harder to obtain investygatuive results.
Some safety tips
Here are tips to enhance your safety and more importantly that of your child:
- Most importantly be open and make sure your child can talk with you, make sure it knows it is being loved
- Be clear in the agreements with your child in what is and what is not allowed and what to do in case of an incident
- Explain the risks of online sexual solicitation and the risk of talking to strangers
- Discuss the risks of meeting face to face and be very cautious about it
- Do some checks first before you give your ok
- Make sure meetings if any are in public places
- Make sure that you know where your children are
- Teach your children to be very careful with sending and posting personal information
- Install firewall, filtering software, anti spy ware, anti virus software and monitor what is going on on the internet
- Be open about that and discuss your worries
- Encrypt wireless networks at home
- Discourage downloading games and other media that could contain undesired content
- Supervise contacts and friends the same way as in real life
- Monitor on line activity of your children regularly
- Set security settings high of your software (windows, browser and email) high
- Understand and approve used screen names and ensure they don’t guve away too much private details
- Make sure that children post only what they and you are comfortable with when others see it
- Discuss the need of posting a photo in profiles
- Discuss that flirting with strangers can be risky and even dangerous
- Trust your gut feeling if you are suspicious or uncomfortable
- Report suspected behavior
Also relevant still is to this post one that I did some time ago on another blog.
TWENTY FIVE MINUTES WITH YOUR CHILD
In the US, a new National Child Safety Campaign was launched today by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The new campaign TAKE 25 encourages families to take 25 minutes to talk with their children about safety and abduction prevention
The following is 25 safety tips were found on the website aimed at enhancing child safety, please read them over and discuss them with your children. Personally I thought this was a great initiative.
- Teach your children their full names, address, phone number, and cellphone number. Make sure they know your full name.
- Make sure that your children know how to reach you at work or on your cell phone.
- Teach your children when and how to use 911. In New Zealand this would translate to 111.
- Make sure your children have a trusted adult to call if they’re scared or have an emergency.
- Instruct children to keep the door locked and not open the door to talk to anyone when they are home alone. Set rules with your children about having visitors over when you’re not home and how to answer the telephone.
On a personal note: consider whether it is good idea to leave your children alone at home at all.
- Choose babysitters with care. Obtain references from family, friends and neighbors. Once you have chosen the caregiver, drop in unexpectedly to see how your children are doing. Ask your children how the experience with the caregiver was and listen carefully to responses.
ON THE NET
- Learn about the internet. The more you know about how the web works, the better prepared you are to teach your children about potential risks.
- Place the family computer in a common area, rather than a child’s bedroom. Monitor their time spent online and the websites they’ve visited.
- Use privacy settings on social networking sites to limit contact with unknown users.
- Make sure screen names don’t reveal to much information about your children.
On a personal note: Even though I am disgusted at times with what I see is accessible I would like to say that we should at all times prevent painting a picture that makes your children shy away from this otherwise good opportunity. There is also a lot of valuable information and opportunities out there.
- Don’t display your child’s name on clothing, backpacks, lunch boxes, or other properties. When names are visible, it may put them on a first name basis with someone who means them harm.
- Remind kids to take a friend whenever they walk or bike to school.
- Walk the route to and from school with your children, pointing out landmarks and safe places to go if they’re being followed or need help. If your child ride a bus, visit the bus stop with them to make sure they know which bus to take.
OUT AND ABOUT
- Take your children on a walking tour of the neighborhood and tell them whose homes they may visit without you.
- Tell your children to get you if they come across a dangerous object or situation.
- Teach your children to ask permission before leaving the house and to tell you where they’re going.
- Remind your children not to walk or play alone outside.
- Teach your children not to approach any vehicle, occupied or not, unless they know the owner and are accompanied by a trusted adult.
- Remind your children it’s ok to say NO TO ANYTHING ( JD: or anyone) THAT MAKES THEM FEEL SCARED, UNCOMFORTABLE, OR CONFUSED
- Don’t confuse your children with the concept of “strangers”. Children do not have the same understanding of who a stranger is as an adult might. The stranger-danger” message is not effective, as danger to children is greater from someone you know than from a stranger. There may also come a time when your child may need help from someone they don’t know when you’re not around.
- Set up “WHAT IF” situations and ask your children how they would respond. “What if someone asked you to help them find a lost puppy? What would you do?”
- During family outings, establish a central, easy to locate spot to meet for check-ins or should you get separated.
On a personal note: make sure you have at all times an eye on your children.
- Teach your children to check in with you if there is a change in plans.
- Teach your children how to locate help at theme parks, sports stadiums, shopping malls, and other public places. Also, identify those people who are safe to ask for help, such as police officers, security guards, and store clerks with name tags.
- Practice safety skills so that they become second nature to your children. While you don’t want to scare your children, it is important to make sure they are aware of potential risks and dangers and assist them in being prepared to avoid them or confidently deal with them as they happen.