Suspected Child Predator Arrested

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A suspected Colorado Springs child predator has been arrested after a two-month-long investigation, according to the Colorado Springs Police Department.

Robert Bell was found with a large amount of child pornography in his possession. He is suspected of sending the pictures over the Internet and attempting to entice a woman to sexually assault an eight-year-old child.

Bell is the 17th arrest this year by the Colorado Springs Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. The Internet connects people all over the world, but it has also become a playground for child predators who can now reach your children in your own home.

Parents used to warn their kids about strangers, walking down dark alleys, taking candy. Now there's a whole new set of fears.

"The Internet is kind of like a park at night," said Sgt. Maggie Santos. "If no one is watching, then anyone can victimize these kids."

With instant messaging, chat rooms, even xbox, there are plenty of opportunities for predators to strike.

Michelle Talarico just bought a computer for her young son.

"It’s really scary; you always think that won't happen to you."

The Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force works to protect kids like Michelle's son against lurking internet predators. We can track these guys through their websites and through the info they leave on the Internet.

This year, 17 people have been arrested by Colorado Springs police for preying on children over the Web, but police say parents need to be active in protecting their kids.

"Don't give your kids secret access to the Internet. It should be in a public place in your house."

And open communication with your children is key.

Frank Backas says he makes sure to discuss the dangers with his kids.

"I talk to them a lot about it and about how to handle themselves on the internet and what to do what not to do."

If you would like more information on how to keep the Internet safe for your children, the police department is holding several free sessions to show you what your kids have access to, and who has access to your kids.

The next presentation is Tuesday September 20 at the Falcon Substation from 7 to 8:30 p.m.