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BCSO talks about internet safety after arrest of child predator | #childpredator | #onlinepredator | #sextrafficing

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — A Southport Man is in the Bay County Jail, facing child solicitation charges.

Bay County Sheriff’s investigators say 39-year-old Peter Keukelaar was using social media sites to connect with teenagers. He allegedly offered a Pasco County juvenile money for nude photos and sent nude photos of himself. Authorities say he also contacted a second 14-year-old, who turned out to be an undercover Panama City Police officer. 1 in 5 children have reported that an online predator has contacted them, and Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford says this is one of their top priorities.

“We put quite a few people in jail on these charges, and we’re going to continue that. Those efforts to keep kids safe or to reduce the instances of human trafficking,” said Ford.

Online predators are one of the reasons the Florida House and Senate passed a bill banning anyone 16 and under from having online accounts. Governor Ron Desantis has some concerns about the bill and has yet to sign it, but Ford says he understands the idea behind the bill.

“I don’t think it’s a bad idea for the legislature to have some controls on this, whether this is the way to do it. And whether the governor agrees with that or not. And that was a little bit out of my wheelhouse, but understand what they’re trying to accomplish,” said Ford.

If it becomes law, it could be an extra layer to protect children from online predators. Ford says there are ways for parents to be more proactive.

“On our app and the county sheriff’s office app website, as well as the Florida Department of Law Enforcement website. There is a way that parents can determine sexual offenders, sexual predators that may live close to where they’re kids, where they live or where their kids go to school, things of that nature,” said Ford.

For more help to make sure you are kids are safe click here. And if you want to know more about sexual predators around your area in Bay County you can download their app.

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