A program to keep Carroll County students safer in cyberspace has begun to take shape, initiated by the state's attorney's office working with school and law-enforcement officials.
This year in Carroll, eight men from Virginia and other counties in Maryland have been arrested on charges that they traveled to meet fictitious 13-year-old girls whom they propositioned for sexual acts in Internet chat rooms. They instead met Cpl. Brad Brown, a Carroll sheriff's deputy assigned to the state police Computer Crimes Unit's Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.
Brown will give a presentation on how to protect children online at 7 p.m. tomorrow at the Westminster High School auditorium.
"I'd be happy if 100 people show up. That would be great," said Brown, who plans to give about a 20-minute talk and answer questions.
It was his task force that alerted Assistant State's Attorneys Natasha M. Byus and Amy L. Blank, of the county's Child Abuse-Sexual Assault unit, to a weeklong program for prosecutors from around the nation provided by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in Alexandria, Va.
They returned inspired to start a local program, Blank said. It seemed a logical step for the two, who are prosecuting the cases brought by the task force.
"I thought, 'Oh gosh, Carroll County needs to know about this,' " said Blank, a prosecutor since 2000 who volunteered in the CASA unit while in high school and college.