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Forum focuses on Net dangers

The Stanislaus County Office of Education will host a forum tonight to educate parents, kids, caregivers and educators on how to keep children safe from Internet predators.

The free event is scheduled from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Martin G. Petersen Event Center, 720 12th St. in Modesto.

The forum will focus on safe Internet use and the predators who use e-mail, chat rooms, instant messaging, blogs and social networking sites to harm children, according to a news release.

The event is geared toward parents, caregivers, junior high and high school students and educators. People will have an opportunity to visit resource booths and gather information.

Scheduled guest speakers are Stanislaus County District Attorney Birgit Fladager, Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson, Modesto Police Chief Roy Wasden, U.S. Attorney McGregor Scott and detectives from the Sacramento Valley Hi-Tech Crimes Task Force.

The event is part of Project Safe Childhood from the U.S. attorney general's office. One of the project's goals is to integrate federal, state and local efforts to investigate and prosecute cases involving child exploitation.

The federal project also is a U.S. Department of Justice initiative to increase federal prosecutions of violent sexual predators of children and to reduce Internet crimes against children including child pornography trafficking.

The attorney general's office provided these examples of local cases:

MARCH 19: A federal judge in Fresno sentenced a Merced man to eight years in prison for his conviction on one count of receiving child pornography. John Albert Sickler, 42, was a Tulare County sheriff's deputy at the time of his Sept. 13 arrest. In a plea agreement, Sickler admitted he received and possessed more than 600 images of the sexual exploitation of minors on computer hard drives, compact discs or other storage devices.

MARCH 1: A federal jury in Fresno convicted a Valley Springs man on charges of using Internet instant messaging to entice a person he believed to be a 13-year-old girl to have sex with him. Stanislaus County sheriff's detectives arrested Glenn Satterlee, 59, when he showed up in March 2004 at a Del Taco restaurant in Turlock, where he had arranged to meet the girl. He actually had been conversing electronically with a sheriff's detective. After a three-day jury trial in U.S. District Court in Fresno, Satterlee was convicted of attempting to entice a minor to engage in illegal sexual activities. He faces a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison and a fine up to $250,000.

NOV. 13: A federal judge sentenced a Modesto man to 17½ years in prison after his conviction of one count of distributing and receiving child pornography. Walter John Kemic, 54, admitted as part of his plea agreement that from September 2005 through Nov. 18, 2005, he distributed and received visual depictions of the sexual exploitation of prepubescent minors via the Internet. Kemic admitted that he transmitted the images to at least one person in Australia, where the investigation originated during an undercover operation. FBI agents in Modesto and Stockton confirmed Kemic engaged in online chat sessions and transmitted images via a digital file-sharing program. During at least one chat session, Kemic expressed his sexual interest in young children to whom he had access in Modesto.

To comment, click on the link with this story at www.modbee.com. Bee staff writer Rosalio Ahumada can be reached at rahumada@modbee.com or 578-2394.

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