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Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Non-stranger danger

"Don't talk to strangers" only confuses kids, according to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC). An article in today's Rochester Democrat & Chronicle reiterates this message that I'm hearing from other expert sources as well (see my 8/27 issue about findings from a University of New Hampshire study on this). The article refers to arrests of fairly reputable people in the Rochester area who have been arrested for child sexual exploitation: a deputy sheriff, a retired Orleans County Court judge, a prominent physician, and a school official. The point is not that they're prominent but that they are not the stereotypical sexual predator - the guy in a trench coat lurking behind a bush near some playground. NCMEC says the danger of sexual predation is greater from someone you or your children know than from a stranger. In a blue column to the right of the article are five tips from the National Center on keeping children safe from sexual exploitation. Parents should also know about the Center's CyberTipline, where incidents of exploitation, online enticement/luring, child pornography, or sexually explicit material sent to children can be reported via a Web form (click on "Report" at or a toll-free number (800.843.5678). You can contact the CyberTipline even if you're worried that a child is being sexually exploited.


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