Community forum to discuss youth and digital awareness

November 3, 2023

Community forum to discuss youth and digital awareness

SCOTTVILLE — On August 10, three men were arrested at Pere Marquette Township’s Suttons Landing and charged with accosting a child for immoral purposes and using a computer to commit a crime, both felonies. To date, two of the three of pleaded guilty. The three had been arrested following a sting operation led by the Mason County Sheriff’s Office, Ludington Police Department and Michigan State Police. Each had appeared at the park under the impression that they were going to meet a 15-year-old who they had been communicating with online and arranging a sexual encounter. The 15-year-old was actually a police officer.

At the time, Mason County Sheriff Kim Cole said within hours of starting the operation, the three men, separately, had made arrangements with the fake 15-year-old.

In an effort to prevent the area’s children from becoming victims to online predators and bullies, the Mason County Sheriff’s Office has coordinated a presentation on digital awareness and youth issues due to social media.

The free community event will be held on Friday, Nov. 10 at Mason County Central High School. Doors open at 5 p.m. with a meet and greet and the presentation will be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

The speaker will be Dep. David Gomez, who has 12 years of law enforcement experience, serving nine years as a school resource officer with the Boise County (Idaho) Sheriff’s Office. Gomez has become a national expert on juveniles and their use of social media in their daily lives.

He has used his knowledge to assist the Idaho Crimes Against Children Task Force, as well as to provide information to many police departments and community agencies, on internet predators. He has operated multiple undercover social media accounts to arrest predators and track down missing children in his jurisdiction and beyond. Gomez educates kids, parents, educators, and law enforcement on the latest technology and trends regarding social media.

The program, Tall Cop Presents Dep. Gomez, Digital Awareness & Youth Issues Due to Social Media, is a coordinated effort between all Mason County schools and local law enforcement.

“While we in law enforcement continue to find those who seek to victimize our children, we also know it is equally important to provide our parents and community with the tools to identify the signs of traffickers and those being trafficked,” said Mason County Sheriff Kim Cole. “We know that human trafficking comes in many forms. The first step in the fight to combat human trafficking and protect our loved ones is education.”

  • Topics that will be discussed include:
  • Know the signs.
  • Know how to be prepared.
  • Know how to protect your children.
  • Know what to do when you see something and know to say something.
  • Know sex trafficking doesn’t just happen in the big cities.

Eats & Drinks

Eats & Drinks