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At least 11 kids from Indiana among dozens of victims of California man arrested for child porn

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Posted at 1:42 PM, Apr 27, 2022

SACRAMENTO, Cali. — A man accused of directing dozens of children to produce child pornography, including 11 in Indiana, was arrested Tuesday, according to authorities in California.

Sgt. Rod Grassman, a spokesperson for the Sacramento County Sheriff's Office, said a task force has identified 80 confirmed victims across the country and another 15 to 20 around the world. The victim's ages range from six to 13 years old.

The man, Demetrius Davis, 24, is scheduled to appear in a Sacramento court Thursday afternoon for arraignment. Formal charges and charging information hasn't been released yet, according to online court records.

Davis is believed to have created several fake social profiles pretending to be a prepubescent teen named "Lizzy," Grassman said. He would direct them to produce child pornography after establishing a relationship with them.

“Davis would direct them to produce child pornography depicting themselves engaging in sexual acts with their siblings and other children known to them," Grassman said in a video upload to the sheriff's Facebook page.

The task force first started investigating Davis after receiving a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Center, Grassman said. On Dec. 1, 2021, detectives served a search warrant at his home and found evidence of child pornography.

Detectives believe he communicated with more than 100 children between late 2020 and December 2021. They are asking for parents to check their child's devices and contact them if they believe they communicated with him.

Anyone with information is asked to call the sheriff's office at 916-874-3002 or email them at ICAC@sacsheriff.com.

Below is a list of all of the victims by age and city.

WRTV spoke with three experts on what parents and guardians can do to keep their children safe online. All three are not able to comment on this case.

Cathie Bledsoe is a computer teacher turned youth educator with the Indiana State Police. She works with 'ICAC', also known as the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

"Now [is the] time to talk to your kids, you have that starting point, you can talk about what happened or what is reported, you can talk about how to avoid that from happening," Bledsoe said.

During COVID, she said tips to ISP increased some 68% when it came to child exploitation on online apps.

"We're getting younger and younger victims every year," Bledsoe said.

Here are some tips from Bledsoe on keeping your child safe online.
1) Parents need to take ownership of the device.
-“Software comes with the terms of service — nobody bothers to read that, but that Terms of Service is a legal and binding contract that our children can't agree to," Bledsoe said.
2) Give your child instructions on using the device before handing it over.
-"You don’t have to be a computer scientist to know how to use it. You can teach them how to block, you can teach them how to use privacy settings, you can teach them how to
read the permissions before they download the app," Bledsoe said.
3) Talk to children about how they act/what they share online.
-"The internet stands for intercontinental network. In other words, the whole world. Once you do this in front of the whole world, if it's not something you would do for the whole
world, you shouldn't do it on your device," Bledsoe said.
4) Follow age restrictions on social media apps.
-"If our kids played sports, we would have them trained, we would have the equipment to protect them, we would know who the coaches are the team that who best players
when we had to bring snacks, but we put them on these devices. And we think oh, I don't have to worry about it. They're home. No, they're connected to the world, we need to
worry a little bit more," Bledsoe said.
5) Get involved in your child's online life.
-“Predators do not want to attack a child that has that adult support because they’re a hard target. Make your child a hard target," Bledsoe said.

For parents and guardians who suspect something may be going on, Bledsoe asks you contact the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

"They triage a lot of our cybertips that we get, ICAC all around the country. They are trained to handle it. They know the questions to ask. They know what kind of information to get you to look for so that you can share with us, but it's really important that you have the name of the app, the user name, the time of day they were on," Bledsoe said.

Scott Schackelford is the Chair of IU's Cybersecurity Risk Management Program.

"Unfortunately, there's just so many ways for our kids to be taken advantage of — to be exploited," Schackelford said.

The cybersecurity expert has the following tips for parents and guardians:
1) Set controls through your internet/broadband connection.
-"You can set parental controls on that, so just at the baseline at your home, certain websites, certain services just aren't available. That means you don't have to police
each individual device that might happen to be in your in your home," Schackelford said.
2) Look at app/device privacy settings.
-I.E. Location settings, disable in app purchases
-"You can kind of think of this as layers of Swiss cheese, right? There's ways that kids even to get around all of these types of controls, but the more layers you layer on top of each
other, the more secure your kids are going to be and the better idea you're going to have about what they're doing online," Schackelford said.
3) For Apple users, parents can change iCloud settings.
-"You can get on to iCloud and update those controls so that you get copies of all the text message, all the iMessage, your chats — everything else that your kid is receiving,"
Schackelford said.
4) Monitor screen time.
5) Model online behavior and talk to your children about what they are posting online.
-"The internet's written in ink, right? We all know how hard it is to erase ink. So anything you put out there, like it or not, it's out there in some form forever. You can't take it back.
And I think, if you can reach kids at that level, you can make this more of a teachable moment. Before you know worst case scenario like this comes to light," Schackelford said.

Sandy Runkle is the Director of Programs at Prevent Child Abuse Indiana, a division of The Villages. She said one of the single most important things parents and guardians can do is to have open and honest conversations with their child to build trust. She suggests starting these conversations early.

"We kind of joke and say, at birth — really early talking to children, about body safety, empowering them, about letting them know about respect for others, and their boundaries and their bodies. Letting them know that they can always come to you about anything," Runkle said.

Runkle also urges parents to remind children not to disclose personal information online including through social media and gaming.

"That goes for parents, too. I know that the parents put their children's picture on on social media and things, we sort of discourage that, but we understand that the parents do. And what we would advise them is don't put any personal information that may identify where the child lives or goes to school," Runkle said.

The Director of Programs said if parents notice a shift in their child's behavior, it may be a sign something is going on.

"If they're shutting down the system, or trying to hide their device, when you come into the room, that's something you may want to explore. Very often, it's behavioral kinds of things. And you're just going to really want to pay attention," Runkle said.