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Police search for more child victims in sex predator case | #childpredator | #onlinepredator | #sextrafficing

Jasmine Huda and Kayla Shepperd

ST. LOUIS – Webster Groves police are searching for what could be hundreds of child sex abuse victims.

It comes after Aaron Pratt, 37, was recently charged with sexually abusing a girl. That investigation led to the discovery of more than 132,000 explicit videos and photos found on electronic devices at Pratt’s home, in the 800 block of Cornell Avenue in Webster Groves.

During the investigation, Lt. Jillian McCoy said investigators not only learned of the suspect’s interest in pedophilia but also his grooming techniques.

“The main tactic that he used – was with tickling. Also, making that child feel special or indebted to him,” she said. “Making the child feel as though they owed him something. And then bribing the child. We saw that quite often, where he would bribe a child. ‘If you do this, I’ll buy you that.’”

Webster Groves police are asking parents to recall whether their families have met Pratt through mutual friends, church events, or other gatherings.

McCoy said that Pratt likely met some of his victims online.

“We found that during the course of this investigation, we found that he was very fascinated with online gaming,” she said. “And not just online gaming, but children’s gaming.”

Investigators believe that during online gaming, Pratt likely pretended to be someone else, and share similar interests to gain the trust of children.

Police said the alleged encounters happened sometime in the past three years. They added that Pratt also has ties to the Chicago area, Ohio, Louisiana, and Minnesota.

Pratt is currently being held in federal custody following an indictment in the most recent child sex abuse case.

Anyone who might have come into contact with Pratt in the past three years should contact the Webster Groves Police Department at (314) 963-5407, or email Lt. McCoy at [email protected].

McCoy said even if parents have never even heard of Pratt, they should use this case to educate themselves and their children about predatory behavior.

“There are so many as a parent that you can look for – the signs that your child is being groomed by an adult,” she said. “A lot of those things are gifts, gift giving, touching or hugging a child, offering an overwhelming among of help or assistance. Or taking special interest in a child.”

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