“I started Innocent Eyes 13 years ago when I was a special agent to posing as a teen online to protect kids against online sexual exploitation. Cell phones became part of our culture and we are all addicted. Children get phones and constant access to the internet before middle school. They get no guidance or restrictions but have every deviancy known to man available at their fingertips. This is putting pressure on our children to make decisions at a young age. Why can’t they just be a child? My ten year old should be learning about grammar and reading and playing on the playground, not about sexuality. The line of morality is now smudged out and gray.
I had to start speaking directly to children and parents because the people who prey on our kids are running rampant and I was arresting guys right and left. The first question I ask when speaking to kids is how many of them know more about the internet than their parents. Every hand goes up. How many of them have been exposed to imagery, chatting or texting of a sexual nature that they were not expecting or did not ask for? Every hand goes up again. I tell them about my job posing online as a teenager to catch predators and their walls come down and they pay attention. When I pose as a kid, I see what happens and what they are going through. It is a point of view few adults have. Teenagers don’t have an adult to talk to because there is a generation gap and most adults don’t understand. Our kids feel alone and it breaks my heart. Every presentation I give, if I change 2, 3 or 5 lives and they leave a little different and act different, then it was worth it. That education can completely change the path of their life.
In undercover investigations, I pose as a 13 to 15-year-old girl or boy with a profile in an app, web chat or game. Predators immediately come to me like hunters looking for prey. Within minutes, they are asking graphic questions and for me to do things to myself. They are asking for videos and pictures. The girls are responding and meeting up for sex. Predators are successful. Why else would they do it? Girls feel competitive, so they have to one up. She shows him this or do that for him and then she will be liked. The predators are also looking for young boys. They hunt in games where they are playing with other players. In Fortnight, you are in a world playing against other human beings. Predators are rampant there because prey is unsupervised. They ask questions to see if parents are around. They lure young boys by pretending to be young girls and patiently build trust. They exchange pictures until the predator reveals himself and says you are going to send me pictures and video or I tell your parents. The kids feel like they are trapped. What happens if their parents find out? This is the definition of sextortion and has led to suicide. Predators hunting our children isn’t going away and will only get worse.
Prevention is the best way to protect our kids. I can teach kids and parents what to look for and what to do. We would never give a child a loaded gun and tell them to have fun. We would never drop a 12-year-old off unsupervised on Bourbon Street. Their phones have access to so much worse. Unsupervised access to the internet is now the norm. I have just started to build an army of parents, called National Parent Army, on Patreon. I will do live webinars that show parents what to look out for on phones. I will get on a device and show what it looks like to our teens, what I face as an investigator. What profilers and predators say. It blows minds when people see it. I hope it becomes a movement of parents and a place they can find answers. If they have problems with their child or a situation that needs investigating, I can help them. I want to do podcasts talking about the cases we are working on, where the predators are, and what is the latest. I am also working on a book. 2019 is the year that I work on all of the things that have been driving me. Nothing is on the back burner this year.
My career in law enforcement began 20 years ago as a patrol deputy in Louisiana, but fighting for kids is what God has called me to do. I have tried to run away from it and do anything else and find a better way to provide for my family, but I always come back to what God called me to do. My brother committed suicide in his early twenties. I am a child of an alcoholic. I grew up watching my mother get beat and the police were at my house all of the time. I wasn’t able to do anything to help my mom. That is why I want to help women and kids. Babies and infants are being molested. How have we become a society that lets this happen? When I am overwhelmed and tired and think I can’t take it anymore, I think about who is protecting those babies. I will fight for babies and kids until my last breath.”
The mission of Innocent Eyes (www.innocenteyes.org) is to provide free Internet safety presentations from an undercover teens perspective. They teach schools, churches, law enforcement and organizations. Any of these can go to the website and request a presentation.