Investigators give tips to keep children safe from online predat - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Investigators give tips to keep children safe from online predators

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James Lewis, Jr., and Clinton Clements were arrested Monday after a three month long investigation. (Source: ECSO) James Lewis, Jr., and Clinton Clements were arrested Monday after a three month long investigation. (Source: ECSO)
EFFINGHAM CO., GA (WTOC) -

The Effingham County Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force announced on Monday the arrest of 29-year-old James Lewis Jr. and 32-year-old Clinton Clements. Both men are accused of having sex with a girl under 15 who they met via social media.

Lewis, of Hortense, and Clements, of Guyton, are accused of child molestation, enticing a child for indecent purposes and interference with custody.

These mark the third and fourth arrests by the task force in two weeks, but task force members say they aren't seeing an increase in the number of online predators. Still, their aggressive approach to weeding them out has put a spotlight on Effingham County.

Investigators say their goal is to warn parents of dangers.

"The crazy thing is, you never know who your child's talking to," Effingham County Sheriff's office spokesman David Ehsanipoor said. "And sometimes, they don't know who they're talking to. Your child could think they're talking to somebody else who's around their age, and they're talking to someone who's twice their age."

That's when things can get scary, Ehsanipoor said. What if the child agrees to meet up with someone they met online?

"Sometimes, kids all the sudden, without realizing it, can get caught up in a bad situation."

The task force says even though your children may not like it – start snooping.

They even recommend getting your children's passwords to social media sites. If they don't want to give the passwords up, that could be a warning.  Children hiding their phones could be another warning sign.

Investigators said predators hide in plain site. Take Kevin Horton, a 24-year-old softball coach with the Effingham County Recreation Department. Investigators say he tried to meet up with an underage girl for sex at Bakers Pond on March 6.

Turns out it wasn't a little girl he was meeting. It was a deputy.

"We've seen school teachers," Ehsanipoor said. "We've seen softball coaches, people in public service."

Another trigger for alarm bells is if your child is interacting a lot with an adult online.

"One of the best tools you have is low-tech," Ehsanipoor said. "Talk to your children. Be open with your children."

The task force recommends anyone who finds their children are Facebook friends with Lewis or Clements call the Effingham County Sheriff's Office.

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