Oprah posts sexual predator profiles on Oprah.com and pledges $100,000 reward for their capture and arrest
There are an estimated 100,000 sex offenders in America living as fugitives. To help get these criminals off the streets, Oprah has pledged to provide a $100,000 reward per case to those individuals who the FBI says provided critical information leading to the capture and arrest of these fugitives.
Community Watch comments:
We support Oprah's efforts and have added an image and link to her site (see top left of page). Please visit her page regularly, review the sexual predator's profiles and pictures, and contact your local FBI office if you have any information which could help capture and arrest these predators.
Protecting Your Children (from Oprah.com)
Be wary, but not paranoid, of adults who have one or several of these behaviors. These common traits of sex offenders should help you raise the red flag on inappropriate relationships between adults and your children.
- Adults who seem preoccupied with children
- Single adults who work or volunteer with children's clubs/activities and frequently spend their free time doing "special" things with kids
- Adults who spend time volunteering with youth groups who do not have children in those groups
- Adults who seem to engage in frequent contact with children, i.e., casual touching, caressing, wrestling, tickling, combing hair or having children sit on their lap
- Adults who act like children when with children or who allow children to do questionable or inappropriate things
- Adults who want to take your children on special outings too frequently or plan activities that would include being alone with your child
- Adults who do not have children and seem to know too much about the current fads or music popular with children
- Adults that your children seem to like for reasons you don't understand
- Adults who seem able to infiltrate family and social functions or are "always available" to watch your kids
Be an Informed Parent
When it comes to protecting your kids, the number one resource is your intuition. If you feel uncomfortable in any given situation, take action. Here are some preventive measures and invaluable tips that every parent can follow to help assure your kids are growing up in a safe and secure environment.
- Do background checks. If child is spending time with adults be sure to find out as much about them as you can.
- Be watchful. Don't just drop your child off at the sport practices or youth activities. Many predators avoid children who have parents that are active in their children's lives.
- Get involved. Volunteer to chaperone extracurricular activities like Boy or Girl Scouts and sporting events, especially those involving overnight trips. Make a strong effort to know your children's friends and their families.
- Be attentive. Notice changes in your child's behavior.
- Be alert. Pay attention to anyone who is focusing an unusual amount of attention to your child or yourself— buying gifts, phoning all the time, dropping by the house, etc.
- Take notes. Remember what your child is wearing each time they leave the house.
- Educate your child. Let your child know that sexual advances from adults are against the law. Build their confidence so they can say "no" to an adult. Encourage children to recognize, trust and follow their instincts—and listen to yours. Teach your child how to recognize a potentially dangerous action instead of a potentially dangerous person. Teach your children they can say "No!" by running away or kicking and/or screaming. It is the action that goes with the word that will keep your children safe.
The Internet is a great resource for children; however, if not monitored correctly this object of convenience can become an unhealthy and hazardous environment. With such an abundance of information at their fingertips, it is easy for children to unknowingly end up in a pedophile's playground. Online chat rooms, instant messages and message boards are easy ways for sexual predators to hunt their prey.
- Never fill out questionnaires or any forms online or give out personal information (such as name, age, address, phone number, school, town, password, schedule) about yourself or anyone else. Make sure your children understand that if he or she gives your phone number to someone online, they can easily find your address and get a map to your house.
- Never agree to meet in person with anyone you have spoken to online.
- Never enter a chat room without Mom and/or Dad's presence or supervision. Some "kids" you meet in chat rooms may not really be kids; they may be adults with bad intentions. Remember, people may not be who they say they are.
- Never tell anyone online where you will be or what you will be doing.
- Never respond to or send e-mail to new people you meet online. Remember: It is okay not to answer every e-mail and instant message.
- Never go into a new online area that is going to cost additional money without first getting permission from Mom or Dad.
- Never send a picture over the Internet or via regular mail to anyone you've met on the Internet.
- Never buy or order products online or give out any credit card information online.
- Never respond to any belligerent or suggestive contact or anything that makes you feel uncomfortable. End such an experience by logging off and telling your parents as soon as possible.
- Always tell someone you know about anything you saw, intentionally or unintentionally, that is upsetting. (It is better for your child's mental health to be able to discuss exposure to pornography than for it to become a dark and confusing secret.)
- Be sure to keep computers in common household areas.
- Children should have gender-neutral screen names.
- Talk to your child about what sites they visit, whom they communicate with and who's on their buddy list. No software will ever be a substitute for being an active parent.
Talking to your kids about Child Abuse
Keeping an open line of communication with your kids is key. Use these suggestions as ways to develop a healthy discussion with your children about sexual abuse.
- Use proper or semi-proper names for body parts (penis and vagina), and phrases like: Private parts are "private and special."
- Tell your children that if anyone touches or tries to see their private parts; tries to get them to touch or look at another person's private parts; shows them pictures of or tries to take pictures of their private parts; talks to them about sex; walks in on them in the bathroom; or does anything that makes them feel uncomfortable to tell you or a "support person" as soon as they can.
- Tell your children that some children and adults have "touching problems." These people can make "secret touching" look accidental, and they should still tell you even if they think it might have been an accident.
- Tell your children that touching problems are kind of like stealing or lying, and that the people who have those kinds of problems need special help so they don't continue to have problems or get into trouble. Don't describe it as a "sickness."
- Tell your children that some people try to trick kids into keeping touching a secret. Tell your children, "We don't want those kinds of secrets in our family."
- Give your children examples of things that someone might use to try to get them to keep a secret: candy, money, special privileges, threats, subtle fear of loss, separation, or punishment.
- Make sure they have support people they can talk to at home, at school, in their extended family, neighborhood or church. Have them pick out three people and tell you who they are. Put the phone numbers next to your home phone and let them know that, if for any reason they cannot talk to you, they should call or go see another support person.
What to do if your child was abused
If your child tells you that he or she has been touched inappropriately, it is important to stay calm. Your reaction may scare them or increase their feelings of guilt. Both emotions could discourage them from talking about the abuse openly. Be sensitive to their needs and applaud them for having the courage to tell you what happened. Be a source of support and assure them you will take care of things.
Next, immediately cease all contact your child has with their offender.
Take action! Call your local police department or child abuse hotline and report the abuse. By failing to notify the authorities you may unwittingly lead to the abuse of other children. Do not try to handle the situation yourself. It is crucial to your child that you report abuse and pursue prosecution. Taking the necessary steps to get the abuser off the streets provides children with a sense of security, as well as the opportunity to get justice.
In order to avoid confusion, anxiety or guilt, children should never overhear conversations about their disclosure. Likewise, you should seek support and comfort for yourself where your child can't see or hear what you say.
The prognosis for healing after being molested is better for children who are supported and believed when they disclose. Listen to your kids, and pay attention to their behavior.