Attorney General McCollum Opens Orlando Branch Of Expanded Cybercrime Unit

~ Office location is the second of seven opening statewide~

ORLANDO, FL – LAWFUEL – The Legal Newswire – As part of an ongoing mission to combat the startling
escalation of cybercrimes against children, Attorney General Bill
McCollum today hosted the grand opening of the Orlando branch of the newly
expanded Child Predator CyberCrime Unit. The office opening comes on the
heels of the opening of the unit’s headquarters in Jacksonville earlier
this month. The Attorney General was joined at the opening by members of
Central Florida’s law enforcement community and local state legislators.

“This new location is part of our statewide expansion and will make
our state one of the most aggressive in the nation for tracking down and
locking up online child predators,” said Attorney General McCollum. “With
increased law enforcement, stricter laws and a comprehensive statewide
education effort, we hope to be a model for other states to follow as the
nation moves forward to better protect our children.”

Five additional CyberCrime Units will open in the Tampa, Ft. Myers,
Tallahassee, Ft. Lauderdale and Pensacola areas over the next several
months. The statewide expansion was the Attorney General’s top budget
priority of 2007 and was fully funded at $4.3 million by the Florida
Legislature. Originally staffed by 6 people, the unit is expanding to 56
personnel statewide, thus providing essential additional resources to
local law enforcement agencies for investigating, arresting and
prosecuting internet predators and child pornographers. The Orlando office
will house a CyberCrime attorney, three law enforcement officers, a
CyberCrime victim advocate and support personnel.

“The need for this increased focus is great, and well-documented,”
said Attorney General McCollum. “Current statistics tell us that one in
seven children between the ages of 10 and 17 will be sexually solicited
online. This is absolutely unacceptable and we will fight for our children
with every resource available.”

Originally established in 2005, the unit has been responsible for the
arrests of nearly 50 individuals who possessed, created or distributed
child pornography or who sexually solicited someone they thought was a
child online. Some of these predators then traveled to meet that person,
believing they were meeting the “child” to continue the sexual abuse.

On October 1, the CyberCrimes Against Children Act of 2007 went into
effect, substantially increasing the penalties for various types of
cybercrime. Specific new criminal charges were created to prosecute
internet child predators who travel to meet their intended victim for the
purpose of further sexually abusing him or her. The Attorney General’s
Office of Statewide Prosecution frequently assists with the prosecution of
predators who cross jurisdictions to meet their intended victims.

The law includes new penalties for “grooming,” a behavior which
occurs when internet child predators lie about their age to entice their
victims. Florida is currently the only state in the nation with a law
specifically targeting grooming. More information on the Attorney
General’s cybercrime initiative is available online at

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