Senator Steve Saland (R,C Poughkeepsie) today was joined by Michael Delohery, Chief of the High Technology Crimes Bureau in the Westchester County District Attorney's Office for a public forum on Internet Safety for Children at Rhinbeck High School. In addition to the presentation by Mr. Delohery, Senator Saland led a discussion on recent changes to Megan's Law and explained legislation he sponsored and passed in the Senate to provide better protection to children by strengthening penalties against Internet pedophiles and child predators, and toughening sentencing for incest and other sex offenses.
"Unfortunately, the same advances in computer and telecommunications technology that allow our children to reach out to new sources of knowledge and cultural experiences are also leaving them vulnerable to exploitation and harm by Internet predators," said Senator Saland. "As our most vulnerable members of society, protecting our children from being preyed upon by Internet predators must be a top priority. I hope that this forum increases awareness of on-line child exploitation and provides parents with additional information to protect their children from Internet predators."
As a prosecutor of Internet crimes, Mr. Delohery's presentation offered parents insight into the predatory behavior of Internet pedophiles. He outlined the signs parents might look for to determine whether or not their children might be at risk, what parents should do if they suspect their child might be communicating with a sexual predator on-line, and what parents can do to reduce the chances of an on-line pedophile victimizing their child.
"Pedophiles do terrible harm to children through sexual exploitation on the Internet," said Senator Saland. "Tragically, prosecutors, such as Mr. Delohery all too often cite numerous examples of minors who have been exposed to pedophiliac behavior on the Internet. Given the increase in child exploitation and abuse stemming from computer usage, we must provide additional protection by educating the public on ways they can better protect children on the Internet."