Raoul: Just knowing your kids’ friends isn’t enough

Illinois attorney general Kwame Raoul says predators can have easy access to their potential victims. (Photo courtesy Illinois.gov)

By Dave Dahl

SPRINGFIELD – A recent kidnapping investigation – in which a Springfield sex offender allegedly met a 13-year-old girl online, then brought her to Illinois from Georgia – gives us a chance to talk about how not to be a victim.

Illinois attorney general Kwame Raoul says predators can have easy access to their potential victims.

“There are some very, very bad people out there,” says Raoul, “and they often pose as minors themselves, whether it be on video games, where they may be communicating with children, or on various online platforms.”

Raoul says just knowing your kids’ friends isn’t enough – his advice is to stay abreast of trends by frequenting parenting blogs and groups, and to check out what kind of monitors and controls you can put on the devices your kids use.

The man accused of kidnapping the Georgia girl is Zachary Despain, 36. Police said they rescued the girl early July 10 after she called 9-1-1 from a downtown Springfield historic site.

The attorney general’s Internet Crimes against Children task force:


Dave Dahl can be reached at news@wjbc.com


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