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Pacific edition, Thursday, August 30, 2007

KADENA AIR BASE, Okinawa — It was an eye-opener.

So said parents and children of Ken Wooden’s presentation on child luring and Internet predation Monday.

Wooden, who last week gave similar presentations at Misawa Air Base, Japan, warned Department of Defense personnel and their families that younger children aren’t the only ones at risk.

Most young people kidnapped by strangers are teenagers, he told parents.

Even college-age children remain at risk, he said.

Many lures that work on younger children also work on older ones, he said as he showed a video of how effortlessly he lured college students into a van during an experiment.

Wearing a sling on one arm, he persuaded several college-aged women to carry crates to the back of a van where he then asked them to push the crates deeper into the interior.

And helping in pairs isn’t any safer, Wooden said. Even with two women, he could have pushed both into the van and driven off, he said.

The “fame lure” is another ploy to which teens and young adults are particularly susceptible, he said.

Wooden convinced a male college student not only to climb into the back of a van but he also let Wooden bind his hands with masking tape — all on the pretext of needing an actor for a commercial.

He also talked about Randy Kraft, who was convicted in 1989 of murdering 16 young men — including eight Marines — in California in the ’70s and early ’80s.

Wooden said Kraft lured his victims, who ranged in age from their early teens to mid 20s, by offering them a ride and beer, which was laced with prescription drugs.

Kraft then abused, mutilated and killed his victims, Wooden said.

The presentation was surprising for some.

“I didn’t know older kids got lured,” said 11-year-old Lizzy Bronski.

Jenny Dumpert didn’t know either.

She came to the presentation for her 10-year-old daughter, but said she learned a lot for her 16-year-old son who will soon be heading off to college, Dumpert said.

Her husband Master Sgt. Eric Dumpert added once kids are older than 14 “you quit asking questions.”

Diane Liddell, mother of 10-year-old Bailey Liddell, told Wooden after the presentation that he has given her daughter “an education for life.”

A look at the stats

Almost 20 percent of 10- to 17-year-olds have received an unwanted sexual solicitation.

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5 percent have received a sexual solicitation that upset or scared them.

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70 percent of these solicitations happened on a home computer.

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Two-thirds of these solicitations happened in a chat room.

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77 percent of the victims were 14 to 17 years old.

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18 percent of the most serious incidents were reported and then mostly to Internet providers.

Source: Crimes Against Children Research Center, University of New Hampshire, in Ken Wooden’s Think First and Stay Safe Parent’s Guide.


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