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Danger isn't just lurking with strangers or at the playground—many children are abused by people they know and trust.

According to law enforcement research, almost three out of four children who are sexually abused know their offenders—and 35 percent of the time the abuser is the child's own parent. "In some of those cases, somewhere, mom is asleep in that house and has no idea that this guy's doing this," Flint says. "Some of these guys are brilliant at the techniques they go through to hide what they're doing."

Studies say that 30 to 40 percent of people who view images of child abuse online are also molesters. "There's a huge number of these guys that when we catch them, they're using it to normalize their behavior, to normalize what they're already doing with the child that's in their care," he says. "So they act out on their granddaughter or their grandson. They go through this guilt cycle. They get the videos. They see that everybody else is doing it, and they continue to act."

Friends and neighbors say Roy Pompa seemed like a typical family man. He always attended his kids' games, holiday parties and neighborhood picnics—but police say the husband and father of two was doing the unthinkable. Pompa laced his daughter's friends' drinks with drugs and sexually molested them while they were sleeping, videotaping the crimes.

In 2006, Flint's software flagged Pompa's computer for trading almost 900 child pornography images in one month. When Ohio authorities raided Pompa's home, they found nearly 3,000 pornographic images and 400 videos of children. Police identified at least eight of his victims ranging in age from 6 to 14 who were molested between 2002 and 2005.

In May 2007, Pompa was convicted of rape and kidnapping and sentenced to life in prison without parole.
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FROM: Internet Predators: How Bad Is It?
Published on September 15, 2008

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