Workshop to teach about child predators
By RYAN MILLS (Contact)
9:16 p.m., Sunday, April 20, 2008
It might not be fair to the Nile crocodiles, but Naples Detective Joe Whitehead compares their method of attack to that of adults who prey on children for sex.
Nile crocodiles, he said, move slowly through shallow water without making a ripple, and attack their victims when they least expect it.
“They work with their environment to camouflage their aggression,” Whitehead said. “Predatory people work in a similar way. ... They use whatever tools they have, such as presenting themselves as a volunteer, someone who helps kids. They have a goal, something they want to achieve.”
Thursday morning, Whitehead is joining professionals from across Collier County for the Campaign Against Sexual Exploitation, a free workshop designed to instruct people on how to protect their children from becoming victims of sexual exploitation.
The workshop, which runs from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Norris Community Center, 755 8th Ave S., in Naples, is a new effort by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and the National Association of Counties.
The other agencies participating in the workshop are the Collier County Board of Commissionaires, the Collier County Sheriff’s Office, the Children’s Advocacy Center of Collier County, Project HELP, and the Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking.
“It’s going to be a presentation, but at the same time there is going to be an exchange of ideas,” said Maribel Slabaugh, program manager for the National Center of Missing & Exploited Children of Collier County.
Though there tends to be less crime in Collier County than in surrounding counties, sexual predators can be found in any community, authorities said.
For instance, on April 7, Naples police arrested a 22-year-old Golden Gate Estates man after they say he confessed during a monitored phone call to having a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old girl he met on the social networking Web site, MySpace.
Later that week agents from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement arrested a 35-year-old Golden Gate Estates man after they say he sent e-mails containing child pornography from his girlfriend’s computer.
“We can’t continue thinking that nothing is happening here just because I don’t know of it,” Slabaugh said. “It’s happening.”
People who attend the workshop will learn about a predator’s profile, the investigative process, signs of abuse, and the healing process. There will also be a question-and-answer period, and information booths.
“They’re going to get a very complete picture in regards to child exploitation,” Whitehead said.
Just as the Nile crocodile likes to keep a low profile while pursing its prey, a seemingly safe community like Naples can be appealing to a sexual predator, Whitehead said.
“The placid environment,” Whitehead said, “is sometimes an attractive one for some of the most predatory individuals.”
For more information or to register for the workshop, contact Maribel Slabaugh with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children of Collier County at (239) 566-5806 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
Campaign Against Sexual Exploitation
When: Thursday, April 24, 2008, 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Where: Norris Community Center, 755 8th Avenue South, Naples, Fl
Age limit: All ages
Description: Campaign Against Sexual Exploitation is a free workshop designed to instruct people on how to protect their children from becoming victims of sexual exploitation. The workshop, which runs from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Norris Community Center, 755 8th Ave S., in Naples, is a new effort by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and the National Association of Counties.
Event posted: April 20, 2008Last updated: April 20, 2008
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