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Keeping children safe from sexual predators online

RACINE, Wis. (CBS 58) -- 56-year-old Richard Barney is now behind bars, after an undercover Racine officer posed as a mom, offering her 11-year-old and 15-year-old daughters for sex.

"Instead of meeting a mom, and an 11 and a 15-year-old, he met a dozen of my finest," Racine County Sheriff Christopher Schmaling said.

Schmaling says the conversation had progressed very quickly.

"We have taken a very sick pedophile, who was preying on children, out of the community," Schmaling said.

Forensic interviewer Lynn Cook investigates these kinds of sex crimes. She says people like Barney pose a bigger threat than ever before.

"Children have become more accessible to predators online," Cook said. "And also, I think it's a pretty normative experience online for children to be contacted by strangers."

"Be online with your kids, know what apps they're using. Also be aware that some kids have disguise apps on their phone that may appear to be a calculator for example, but maybe an app where they're hiding photos."

She also advises talking to your kids without judgment about risks online.

Sheriff Schmaling says if you're ever suspicious, call the police.

"We have sick, perverted individuals online, trolling the internet day and night, looking for, with one agenda in mind, and that is to have a sexual experience or contact with your children."

Barney faces six felony counts, including attempted sexual assault of a child, and the use of a computer to facilitate a sex crime.


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