A Roswell city councilman is facing some serious charges, Friday night, after an undercover sting at a local motel.
Roswell police detectives investigating the councilman’s case are part of the state’s task force that goes after adults who sexually exploit children online and in person.
The number of cases they’re making - statewide - is sobering.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation oversees the state's Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force. And investigators are now getting hundreds of tips per month.
For example, there is the youth minister in Cobb County accused in June of using social media to lure children and molest them.
Then there was the couple from Florida arrested in Atlanta earlier this week as part of a nationwide operation with the FBI that led to a total of 239 arrests - suspects accused of the sex trafficking of minors.
Also among the cases are adults who think their "relationships" with minors are consensual and don’t consider their actions exploitation.
“When we are speaking with subjects after arrest, many of them believe that they were in an actual relationship with a child, but the child is so young that they don’t quite understand what that is," GBI Special Agent Debbie Garner said. "They can’t consent to this type of relationship.”
In 2015, the ICAC Task Force arrested 244 people across the state. That’s an average of at least four arrests per week.
Garner said there is no one profile of a predator.
“They are all ages, they are all professions, all races," she said. "There is no demographic for this particular subject. Which makes is scary, makes it hard. But we’re simply going after people that are going to prey on our children.”
Many of the tips coming in to the GBI originate from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and from internet service providers and from apps who turn in their customers when they spot illegal sexting and photos.
They also come from parents who monitor their children’s smartphones and computers.
(© 2017 WXIA)