Another accused predator has been captured! Ernest Edgar Thomas Jr., a repeat sex offender, was taken into custody after a four-month manhunt.
According to police, Thomas snatched his first known victim, a young girl, right off the street, then sexually assaulted her in his car. After serving three and a half years in prison, he was released. He then kidnapped and sexually abused another girl for five years, forcing her to perform sexual acts on herself with a handgun while he shot video and pictures, according to authorities. After he was arrested and charged, he was released on bail. On November 10, 2005, just minutes before a jury found him guilty, Thomas disappeared. He was on the run for four months before being tracked down in a boarding house in Altoona, Pennsylvania. Thanks to the FBI and local and state authorities, Thomas is once again behind bars!
A new wanted criminal has been added to Oprah's Child Predator Watch List. David John Sprong Jr. is a twice-convicted sex offender who has a long history of dating women with young daughters. Police say that in 1992 he preyed on his girlfriend's youngest child, crawling into the girl's bed and fondling her while he was naked. According to authorities, that same year he befriended and then raped a young runaway. She became pregnant.
Sprong was convicted in both cases but served just five years in prison. He is now accused of inviting girls to his California apartment complex and molesting them. Posing as a cosmetologist, authorities say Sprong allegedly fondled the girls while giving them grooming tips. He is also facing charges for two other sex crimes in California. On March 17, 2006, Sprong failed to show up for a pre-trial hearing and hasn't been seen since. The FBI believes Sprong may be traveling with his 9-year-old daughter and the child's mother, Clara Rodaer.
Since Oprah's Predator Watch List was launched, five alleged child molesters have been captured. The first two predators turned in by viewers like you, Niles Scott
(left) and William Davis
(right), have been tried and found guilty.
After four hours of deliberation, Niles Scott was found guilty on all counts. He was sentenced to life in prison. Fifty-year-old Scott will serve 40 years before he's eligible for parole.
Thirty-three-year-old William Davis will also spend time behind bars. A jury found Davis guilty on three counts of child molestation. He was sentenced to 52 years in prison.
A New Hunting Ground
New York Times
reporter Kurt Eichenwald
says one of the ways teenagers put themselves at risk is by posting on personal websites. Teens use sites such as MySpace.com and Friendster.com to connect with their friends and meet new people, but Kurt says these websites have become a hunting ground for predators.
To demonstrate how easily an adult can establish contact with a child, Kurt searches on one site for a female, age 13 to 16, in Texas. In seconds, he gets 1,500 results.
The amount of personal information that children provide is astonishing—name, age, photos, hometown, name of high school, graduation date. Kurt says the most valuable information is the "instant message screen name" which allows him immediate access. "If I had ill intent, I could do whatever I want."
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