Thursday, May 5, 2005
Attorney General Abbott Unveils Measures To Educate Waco Children About Online SafetyWACO - Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott today unveiled measures to help protect children when they use the Internet and educate them about the Office of the Attorney General. He introduced students at Mountain View Elementary School to the “Kids’ Page” of the Attorney General’s Web site, and to the Attorney General’s new Cyber Safety Officer.
The multimedia Kids’ Page (www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/kids) includes tips and games to educate children about how to stay safe while online. The Attorney General’s Cyber Safety Officer, Paul Aleman, provides students with information about Internet safety, the dangers of giving out their personal information, and acts as a liaison between the Attorney General and local law enforcement.
“Protecting Texas children is one of my top priorities as Attorney General,” Abbott said. “The Kids’ Page and our new Cyber Safety Officer teach students they can have fun on the Internet and be safe at the same time.”
Attorney General Abbott created the Fugitive and Cyber Crimes units in 2003 to track down and arrest child predators. The Fugitive Unit works to pinpoint and arrest fugitives who have violated parole and could be stalking children. Cyber Crimes investigators assume the identity of underage teens in Internet chat rooms, which often leads to child predators soliciting them for sex online and then attempting to meet them. Predators agree to meet the person they think is a child, but are surprised to find out the “child” is actually a Cyber Crimes investigator.
To date, the two units have arrested more than 230 predators, including 11 who were either from the Waco area or were arrested here. One of those was Mauro Castaneda Palacio, of Killeen. Palacio was arrested in November 2003 after traveling to Hays County for what he thought would be a sexual encounter with a child he had solicited on the Internet. When he arrived for the meeting, however, the “child” turned out to be one of Attorney General Abbott’s Cyber Crimes Unit investigators.
Palacio was subsequently convicted and will serve his 10-year term consecutively after first serving 10 years in prison on a previous state charge of criminal solicitation of a minor. He must also complete 10 years of supervised probation upon release from federal prison.
In addition to online safety information, the Kids’ Page Web site contains a video question-and-answer session with Attorney General Abbott, games and coloring pages about Texas history and the Office of the Attorney General, and other helpful links for students. Students can also participate in interactive “investigations” and can even become a Junior AG. “Kyle Coyote” is the animated tour guide for the Web site, which includes information in English and Spanish.