238 child predators arrested in SoCal during spring sweep

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Investigators with the Internet Crimes Against Children nationwide task force team announced they arrested 238 child predators in Southern California.

The task force, currently in its third year, conducted Operation Broken Heart during the months of April and May. Officials said the charges ranged from child pornography to child prostitution.

"For charges such as possession and distribution of child pornography, sexual exploitation of children, child prostitution and sex tourism," Matt Blake, chief of detectives with the Los Angeles Police Department said.

Officials stated the predators groomed minors and pretended to be children online.

"The perpetrators in these cases include entertainers, community leaders, white collar professionals and even members of the clergy," John Reynolds, acting special agent in charge with Homeland Security Investigations said.

Authorities credited mobile labs with helping investigators make arrests the same day instead of having to wait months.

Though 238 child predators were arrested, officials warned the summer months could put children at a higher risk of encountering sexual predators online.

"When kids have more time to spend accessing the internet and social media sites it's more important than ever," Reynolds explained.

Officials encouraged parents to talk with their children about internet safety.

"Parents and kids need to have frank conversations about how to stay safe in cyber space," Reynolds said.

"The number one reason kids tell us they don't say anything to their parents is they're afraid they're going to take their devices or internet connection away," Brian Arnett, forensics investigator with the LAPD said.
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