Targeting Online Predators

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They are startling statistics. At any given time 50,000 child predators are on the Internet looking for a victim.

So we decided, with the help of investigators, to go online to see in a matter of hours how many of these predators would take the bait.

Detective Dave Hester was online since for two hours Thursday posing as a 13-year-old girl to see just how many men would try to contact him.

In a matter of two hours, he was contacted 17 times. Some older men continued to talk to him, even when he said he was a 13 year old girl, while a handful quickly stopped. One even sent him a nude photograph.

Someone who truly understands online crime such as this is a mother we spoke to whose 14 year old daughter was targeted online on the website Myspace.

The young girl became friends with someone after being told he was a pastor in a nearby town and wanted to help the young girl whose parents were going through a divorce.

The pastor was married and had two children, but what 40-year-old Timothy Scott Richerson didn't tell the family is that he was a former pastor, and was using the identity to reach out to young girls.

In this case, he called the 14-year-old constantly, drove two hours to talk to the family and chatted with her online. That's until her mother took notice and found some alarming messages sent to her daughter by the man.

After the mom contacted authorities, Richerson was sentenced to 120 months in prison for sexually exploiting a minor and using a computer to entice her.

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