Attorney General's Child Predator Unit Nabs 264th Sex Predator

HARRISBURG – Agents from the Attorney General’s Child Predator Unit have arrested an Ohio man accused of sending nude photos and webcam videos to what he believed was a 14-year old girl. The “girl” was actually an undercover agent who was using the online profile of a young teen.

Attorney General Tom Corbett identified the defendant as Larry Dugan, 62, 561 East Main St., East Palestine, Ohio.

Corbett said that Dugan allegedly used an Internet chat room to approach the undercover agent, asking the girl for photos. During their first online chat Dugan allegedly provided the girl with his telephone number, asking her to call him or text him.

According to the criminal complaint, as the chats progressed Dugan began to engage in sexual questioning which became more vulgar and persistent. Additionally, Dugan allegedly proposed meeting the girl for sex – suggesting that he could travel to her hometown and that she should wear shorts and a tank top when they met.

“Every parent needs to understand the threat Internet predators pose to their child’s safety online,” Corbett said. “Often, these men send nude photos or videos during their first online chats with children, or will pressure kids to meet them for sex.”

Corbett said that Dugan allegedly was very graphic and specific in his conversations with the girl telling her what sex acts she would perform on him and how she should groom herself before meeting.

The charges state that Dugan activated his webcam during at least two online conversations and transmitted inappropriate and sexual video of himself to the girl.

“Online safety and security should be a regular topic of discussion in every home, and we urge parents to emphasize that children should always tell a trusted adult if an online stranger says or does something inappropriate or sexual in nature,” Corbett said.

The Attorney General’s Child Predator Unit has arrested 264 online predators since it was created in January 2005, including residents from every corner of Pennsylvania along with suspects from numerous other states. To-date, the Child Predator Unit has a 100% conviction rate.

Dugan is charged with six counts of unlawful contact with a minor, four counts of unlawful contact with a minor (related to obscene or sexual materials and performances) and three counts of criminal use of a communication facility.

Dugan was taken into custody June 11th in New Castle, Lawrence County, and preliminarily arraigned in before New Castle Magisterial District Judge Melissa Amodie. He is being held in the Lawrence County Correctional Facility on $100,000 straight bail.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for June 17, 2010 at 9:30 a.m. in Lawrence County Central Court.

Dugan will be prosecuted in Lawrence County by Senior Deputy Attorney General William Caye II of the Attorney General’s Child Predator Unit.

Corbett thanked the New Castle Police Department for their assistance with the investigation.

Internet Safety

“Online predators do not care how long it might take to establish a relationship with a child or how far they must travel if they find a vulnerable victim – especially during summer vacation, when more young teens are home alone or unsupervised for longer periods of time,” Corbett said.

Corbett said that summer typically triggers a jump in the number of incidents involving Internet predators.  Last year, our Child Predator Unit arrested 32 people during the spring and summer months, including men who traveled to Pennsylvania from as far away as Texas, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Maryland, New Jersey and Ohio, all hoping to sexually victimize children.

Corbett recommended that parents and other caregivers should also monitor how kids are using the Internet, including:

  • Checking the websites they use frequently.
  • Searching the social networking sites they visit.
  • Asking them to show you their online profiles on Facebook, MySpace and other websites and discussing the items they may be posting online.

Corbett added that parents and kids need to understand that safety concerns now extend beyond home computers.

“Many cell phones and game systems can be used to send and receive messages or photos and can also be used to access websites,” Corbett said.  “The same safety rules need to be applied to all of these devices.”

Corbett said that parents should also emphasize that kids should not share personal information online, like full names, ages, addresses, phone numbers and school information, and should be especially cautious about strangers who approach them online.

Suspected internet predators can be reported to the Attorney General’s Office by clicking on the “Report a Predator” link, located on the front page of the Attorney General’s website, or by calling the toll-free Child Predator Hotline at 1-800-385-1044.

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