Government Printing Office Internet: bookstore. Marventano, Staff Director James D. Barnette, General Counsel Reid P. The subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 1 p. Fred Upton chairman presiding.
Members present: Representatives Upton and Bass. Good afternoon everyone. I want to pay particular thanks to Dr.
Marilyn Schlack and Bruce Koper for making sure that everything worked out terrific in having us here today. As the subcommittee chairman and parent of two young children who use the Internet at home for both school, work and fun, there are few issues that are more important than making sure that our kids are protected on-line. I yiung it was vitally important to hold this hearing not in Washington DC, but in Kalamazoo to help spread the word to the families of Southwest Michigan that sadly we are not immune from the ugly underside of chat rooms and that we can and must younb back against those on-line sexual predators who seek to sneak into our homes via the home computer and do harm aadults our.
When a person comes to your door and knocks on it, you can teach your kids to look out the window or through the peephole and see who it is before they decide whether or not to unlock the door and let that individual in. You teach them never to open the addults to a stranger.
Also you can always teach your kids not to talk to strangers outside in the street. But in this age of home computers and the Internet, parents do not necessarily have that luxury or uoung anymore.
Pedophiles and sexual predators have figured that out and they have made chat rooms their latest stalking ground. Alarmingly, national surveys suggest that 1 in 5, 20 percent, of young Internet users have received an unwanted sexual solicitation via on-line chat rooms. In the Southwest Michigan area alone, we have had a of tragic examples.
A 21 year old college student has been accused of having sex with three Richmond girls, a 14 year old and two 13 year olds, whom he met on-line. A 23 year old Oregon man pled guilty to crossing State lines to have sex with a 13 year old girl from Kalamazoo; they met in a chat room.
A 34 year old Brooklyn man, who claimed to be a 17 year old boy, was sentenced last August for having sex with a 14 year old girl from Michiwauke. They met on-line, traded photos of each other, and had conversations about sex.
These are but a few examples of how evil sexual predators are preying on our communities and we know there are many more. Today we will hear from a of witnesses including Katie Tarbox, a young woman who has the courage to step forward to tell her terrifying story of how, when she was in her early teens, she was preyed upon by an adult who used a chat room to take advantage of her.
She is telling her story so that parents and children in Southwest Michigan can learn lessons from her experiences and hopefully avoid such dangers on-line.
She is to be commended for her courage and I know that this is not easy for her. We will also hear from John Karraker, father of a Kalamazoo teenager, who was also preyed upon by an adult on-line. John is stepping forward today to provide his perspective in hopes of helping other fathers and mothers protect their. He is not only a father, but also a Public Safety Officer here in Kalamazoo. He knows that if it can happen in the house of a Public Safety Officer, it can happen in any house.
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