Sheriff, researcher break down child predator stings | #childpredator | #kidsaftey | #childsaftey

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Police are providing more details on the child predator operation that led to the arrest of four men, including the Holt High School Basketball coach

Chad  Gober, Nelson Houck and Cristher Medina all face felony charges. 

  • Child Sexually Abuse Material
  • Child, Accosting for Immoral Purposes,  
  • Using a Computer to Commit a Crime specifically child sexually abusive material 
  • Using a Computer to Commit a Crime related to accosting a minor for immoral purposes
Lansing Police Department booking photos of four men arrested in “child predator operation.” They are Chad Allan Gober, 46, of Lake Odessa; Nelson Aubrey Davon Houck, 33, of Mason; Cristher A. Medina, 20, of Carthage, MO; and Muhammad El-Amin, 36, of Delhi Township. (WLNS)

Police made the arrests in a joint operation involving Eaton County Sheriff’s Office deputies, Lansing Police and Michigan State Police. Officials said the men attempted to meet a minor they chatted with online for sex. 

But that minor was in reality a police decoy. 

It’s a type of operation that Genesee County Sheriff Christopher Swanson is very familiar with. He said his office has made the playbook for other agencies to set up similar stings. 

“We rather be on the other side of that door than a real victim,” said Sheriff Swanson. 

He said the activity is part of proactive policing and can help catch first-time offenders before they meet a real-life victim. 

“We may chat 100, 200, 250 people in an operation and many of them, they say ‘hey, it’s too young’  which is great,” Swanson said. “But unfortunately, we’ve got hundreds that don’t say that, and they’re actually looking for an underage victim and they knock on the door and it happens to be law enforcement.”

Swanson said that these kinds of arrests can also embolden victims of suspects to speak out to police. 

Michigan State University Assistant Professor Karen Holt said the operations also help researchers and law enforcement better understand tactics used by suspects. 

“We could see them kind of joking around, a little bit of flirting and then introducing sex into the conversation,” she said. 

“It gives us kind of a nice map, almost right in terms of thinking about prevention.” 

But there are ways parents can be proactive in caring for their child’s online presence. 

“Be aware of the surroundings, know what’s on your family’s phones,” said Sheriff Swanson. 

Holt said parents should not be afraid to have conversations early on with their kids about sex. 

“The research tells us that, like, kids as young as eight are encountering pornography on friends’ phones at school. And so, I think there are developmentally appropriate ways to talk to kids about all of this stuff, right? And that gives us a certain amount of power,” she said. 

Holt said parents can find resources online by the FBI to help guide those age-appropriate talks. 

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