Alex Cabrero ReportingThere are some 8,000 sexual offenders in Utah. More and more, Utah is becoming known as a place for child sexual predators to hide. But the Department of Corrections is starting to play hardball against them, and Davis County has been leading the way.
Every day Adult Probation and Parole in Davis County tracks sexual offenders. Something they're finding out is that there is one thing these predators have in common, and it's something that's probably in your home, used by your children. It's the most used invention of the past ten years.
The internet sure has changed how we do things, from buying stuffed animals on the other side of the planet, to finding out how many times the New York Yankees shortstop made an error in 1920. It's all there. But for all the good that comes with the internet, there is also plenty bad.
Troy Rawlings, Davis Co. Deputy Attorney: “It helps them facilitate their devious objectives to a great degree.”
Troy Rawlings knows probably better than most.
Troy Rawlings: “You’re not human if it doesn’t get to you what these kids are going through.”
As a deputy attorney for Davis County, it's his job to prosecute those who sexually abuse children, and often the internet is involved.
Troy Rawlings: “A lot of the stranger cases, the ones where there’s not a relationship of trust of a child to begin with, they meet online, a good portion of them.”
That's how Brandon Jay Olsen met his victims. He recently pled guilty to enticing 13-year old girls from Davis County to come to his Murray home, where physical contact occurred.
Troy Rawlings: “Three felonies and one misdemeanor.”
In many cases, parents have no idea who their children are chatting with on the internet. So if something happens, it's up to the children to come forward, which often isn't easy to do.
Troy Rawlings: “Most of the credit for successfully being able to prosecute these type of cases goes to the victims.”
Olsen was set to be sentenced yesterday, but because he didn't get a psycho-sexual evaluation, he was sent to jail. His sentencing is now set for next month.
And of course, it's never a bad idea to talk to your children about strangers on the internet. If they know about them, they'll know what to do if something ever happens.