Thursday, September 14, 2017

Convicting a Predator

It's been a week since I last spoke with you about the trial.   During that
week, everyone's attention, as was my own, was on Hurricane Irma.  
Our thoughts and prayers have been with those who were in it's path.

Life can be stormy at times, yet unlike the weather, we often have
the power to control disruption in our own lives.  After several days of
listening to numerous testimonies, we convicted a man of online
solicitation of a minor.  Following the interruption by Hurricane Harvey,
we returned to court for the punishment phase.  After listening to more
testimony, and then retreating to the jury room for two and one half hours
of deliberation, we delivered a sentence of two years in prison, and the
highest fine we were permitted to impose.

Was it easy to sentence a man to prison for two years?  No, it was not.
Holding the weight of one's future in our hands was not easy, nor was
it pleasant.  Will he contemplate his actions and selfishness while in
prison?  I do not know the answer to that question.  I hope that he does.

As a blogger and a regular participant in a variety of social media platforms,
I am quite familiar with interacting with people whom I have never personally met.
Is there a chance that I might interact online with someone who is not who they
say they are?  Yes, I am sure that there is.   Am I cautious?  Absolutely I am!

The speed and efficiency with which we are able to interact with others 
around the globe is truly amazing.  Yet technology for all it's wonder, is a
double edged sword.  It has the potential to be both helpful and also the
potential to be deadly.  

What I learned as I watched and listened to the defendant and the 
witnesses who testified against him, is that online communications between
individuals unknown to one another, can quickly become quite personal and
can open the door to dangerous encounters.  Young girls, and I imagine
young boys too, can be easily influenced and coerced into a dangerous
game by someone who is older and not well meaning.  What would have
happened if this had not been a sting operation?  What if it truly was
a 14 year old girl responding to a 29 year old man?  If he did meet up
with her in a dark park one night, how would she live with the 
consequences?  Would he have harmed her once he achieved his goal
of taking a young girl's virginity?

Sexual predators have invaded the internet.  As an adult who is concerned for the
safety of children, I believe it is our responsibility to be aware of the dangers the
internet can pose to young kids and teens.  I hope that if you are a parent, 
grandparent or relative of young kids and teens, that you impress upon them the
dangers of communicating with a stranger.  People can and do lie on the internet.
They can be coercive and flirtatious and lure in their prey with compliments and
promises of love and romance.  It is vital that parents and guardians have frank
discussions with kids about the dangers.  Learn who your kids friends are.  
Do what you can to monitor their access to the internet.  You might be convinced
that your small town is not plagued with this problem.  Think again!   This
man lived two hours away in a big city and found what he believed to be a 14
year old girl in a much smaller city where he had never visited.  He was more
than willing to drive the two plus hours to achieve his goal.  

Following the trial, both the prosecuting attorney and the defense attorney
spoke with us.  The Assistant PA told us that she has more of these
types of cases on her desk waiting to be tried.  It is an ongoing battle, yet
I believe that we can and should do what we can to prevent the young from
falling victim to these predators.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley


  1. HI,
    This was a very good post and I appreciate your bring on that jury and taking your time and heart to go through that trial. We cannot be to protective of our children and you have helped to save others that would have surely fallen pray to this person. Be blessed.

    1. Thank you! I hope that in convicting this man, we did indeed save others.

  2. Susan, I am so glad you were a juror on that case. The dangers are more than we can possibly comprehend! Thank you for using your blog to inform! I was on a murder case many years ago that the first trial has ended in a mistrial. He was convicted and given a life sentence.

    1. Wow ~ I cannot imagine the range of emotions you experienced as a juror on a murder trial! Thank you for bringing it to a rightful conclusion.

  3. Replies
    1. It is indeed sad that there are those in this world who mean to harm others.

  4. Glad you were able to convict someone you felt was guilty. Maybe his strong sentence will help deter someone else.

    1. When we deliberated whether or not to convict him, not one member of the jury had to be swayed. We all thought he was guilty and not one of us had one shred of doubt.

  5. very very good post! I was wondering how it turned out! Today's world is not a safe place for children and teens, like it was for us. I am always saddened that they will not know that freedom and innocence we had.

    1. I think that the world has always been a dangerous place, and now the danger can easily come right into our homes via the internet. It's so important for adults to take charge and protect the young.

  6. Predators are indeed a scary thing and they are not just after children. I cannot tell you how many times I have been "approached" by strangers, people whom I have never interacted with at all that approach me through email, google +, and Facebook and write the most ridiculous things. It is astounding. If you have an online presence you have to be careful!

    Thanks for doing your civic duty


Oliver and I LOVE and read every comment.


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