State Attorney Goes After Online Predators

Each year sexual predators solicit one out of five northwest Florida kids in online chat rooms.

At the beginning of the year, newly elected State Attorney Steve Meadows created an Internet Crimes Against Children team to attack the problem.

Last Friday, following a five-week investigation, the ICAC team made its first arrest, a 34-year-old registered sex offender named Robert Arthur Johnson.

The Bay and Gulf County Sheriff's Offices both have very successful ICAC units, but Meadows says you can't have too many people protecting our children.

"It's just additional personnel the volume of these cases is so great we want to make sure we've covered the area. Bay County is limited to Bay County. We can cover not only Bay, but five other counties in our judicial circuit as well."

ICAC officers pose as young children in online chat rooms. Once an online predator solicits them, they arrange a meeting where authorities arrest the predator.