Tuesday, January 17th, 2017

The Internet/Technology leads to a slew of crimes and problems in Wayne County

The 15 year-old Gananda boy was upset with school and life in general. In a moment of frustration, while sitting in class, he posted on the internet social website Facebook that he wished to “blow this place up.” The police were soon on their way and the scared teen was not only suspended, but faced a Felony charge of Falsely Reporting an Incident, a Class D Felony. He was photographed and fingerprinted and sent home. Luckily, he is a juvenile and the case will be referred to Family Court.

Arresting Officer Ed O’Konsky said that, in his day, such a remark would never have raised an eyebrow, but in light of the internet and posted threats, all postings come under strict scrutiny.

A mother called up the newspaper last Wednesday. Her sixteen year-old son was arrested and his picture appeared in the paper in 2009. She wanted to know why, when she Googled his name on the internet search engine, the story still came up? The boy eventually had his case sealed by the courts as a juvenile conviction, well after his arrest. She did not realize that in today’s techno-world yesterday’s stories never yellow with age and memory, rather are a permanent part of that untouchable pie-in-the-sky Internet.

On Thursday, respected Congressman Christopher Lee, representing all or parts of seven counties including the western portion of Monroe County, resigned. This, after a Craig’s List posting of the shirtless Lee, offering himself up as a divorced man searching for the affections of a web-searching woman. Unfortunately, Lee is a married man with a young son. He is only the latest politician and public official brought down in the not-so-secret world of the Internet.

Two weeks ago, after an undercover State Police Investigator posed as a computer user in search of child pornography, a Town of Ontario man and his father were charged with multiple counts of possessing and distributing child pornography. Deemed by the courts as a particularly horrid crime, prison time and a lifetime of being branded as pedophiles and registered sex offenders may be in their future.

Scores of local residents fall prey daily to Internet savvy hucksters and schemes — everything from guaranteed lottery winnings to bogus Craig’s List purchases promising things that are ‘too good to be true’. Still, police receive calls weekly from victims shelling out tens of thousands of dollars to scammers.

Teens, especially underestimate the power of the Internet. In 2008, a teen girl ‘texted’ a sexually provocative picture of herself to a boy. This forwarding of sex pictures by teens is called ‘sexting’. The picture was then forwarded to friends and soon became viral (spread) to other smart phones and devices throughout the Wayne County School. The boy she originally sent the picture to was arrested, but the embarrassment and picture could not be withdrawn from the Internet.

Wayne County District Attorney Rick Healy said he found it “unbelievable” what comments and photos computer users post on the Internet. “They download child pornography and think they do it anonymously, in the privacy of their own home. I am amazed at what people think they can get away with on the Internet,” said Healy.

“People think they can spout off anything (on the Internet) with no accountability. You just can’t spout off – because everything is taken literally today,” said Wayne County Sheriff Barry Virts.