Del. Child Predator Task Force Reaches Milestone - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Del. Child Predator Task Force Reaches Milestone

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DOVER, Del. (WBOC) - A focus on cracking down on child predators is getting results in Delaware as the child predator task force reaches a major milestone.

Attorney General Beau Biden announced Wednesday the task force has now gotten 150 convictions. Prosecutors hit that number earlier this year.

The task force started back in 2007. The goal was to consolidate the state's effort to stop child predators a and give a lot of people a singular focus on protecting kids.

A large chunk of the task force's funding comes from federal money. It's added up to about $2 million since 2007. That money has paid for new equipment and extra staff. The task force currently has eight full-time staff, including prosecutors and investigators, and additional help from six people from Delaware State Police.

That staff includes Dep. Attorney General Abby Layton. She has been with the task force for a year.

"It is alarming how many child predators there are out there," she said. "We could triple our size and still have work do and still be very busy every day."

Biden says over the past six years the task force has made major strides: opening more than 800 investigations, executing almost 300 search warrants and making 235 arrests, which lead to those 150 convictions.

He says it's far more than what Delaware was doing prior to 2007.

"We probably get a warrant from the child predator unit once a week as part of an investigation."

While Biden is happy with those numbers - and a 2008 law that put a two-year mandatory minimum sentence on distributing child pornography - he's not happy about the sentencing situation in other areas.

Wednesday a judge gave probation to a Delaware man who prosecutors say came to a Kent County park to meet a 13-year-old girl, but instead found a cop.

"This is something people should go to jail for," Biden said. "Probation is not appropriate."

Biden says he's considering pushing for a mandatory-minimum jail sentence in these enticement cases, too, perhaps as soon as later this spring, though he may wait until the beginning of the legislative session next year. In the meantime, Layton will keep going after predators and educating kids on staying safe on the Internet.

"Not putting information out on the Internet," she said. "Because there are people out there trying to find vulnerable children to groom them, develop relationships with them and take a further step."

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