From the Manchester Union Leader
MERRIMACK – Attorney General Kelly Ayotte and Hillsborough County officials announced yesterday that 12 men have been charged with approaching children online and seeking intimate relationships.
The Southern Hillsborough County Cybersafe Task Force was developed eight months ago to engage online predators who start up conversations with children and then ask them for sexually explicit pictures or Web-cam images or seek to meet in person.
"Kids today think nothing of placing images on the Web," Ayotte said. "We need to convince them to be careful when using cell-phone technology and social networking sites."
Ayotte said Gov. John Lynch has requested that a special prosecutor for cyber crimes be appointed.
Officials said that the proliferation of technology, digital cameras, cell-phone cameras, Web-cam, and social networking sites in virtually every home has escalated the possibility of contacts between child predators and children.
"The policy of the task force is that we don't initiate conversations, and still the number of propositions is overwhelming," said Merrimack Master-Patrolman Theodore Dillon, who is part of the ongoing sting operation.
Ayotte said that technology has significantly changed the way that child crimes are perpetrated. There has also been a paradigm shift in the way children are socially interacting that can lead to dangerous and unexpected consequences, she said.
Ayotte said about one in seven children between 10 and 17 have been directly targeted online.