Online Seduction

000522_child_cyber AP / CBS

As many as one in five children encounters unwanted sexual advances while surfing the Internet, a new survey suggests.

The study was conducted by the Crimes Against Children Research Center of the University of New Hampshire and the results were released Thursday.

CBS News Correspondent Wyatt Andrews reports there's been an explosion of this kind of crime, with the FBI investigating 400 cases in the past year alone.

Daniel Honzig thought he was coming for sex. Police say he thought he'd be having sex with Kendra, a 13-year-old girl he met on the Internet. He had driven 500 miles from Colorado to a park in Kansas to meet the child.

Dark Side Of The Web
CBS News Eye On America Investigation

Part Two:Minding the Cyber Neighborhood

Part Three:The Fantasy Defense
Did he meet an actual 13-year-old girl? He did not. He met a police officer who was working undercover, explained Director Mike Watson of the Riley County Police.

Watson said Honzig's online seduction of the would-be Kendra was aggressive. The court record says Honzig asked the child for intercourse, and promised to use a condom. He convinced police he was a threat.

"They are dangerous; they may not walk up to you with a gun, but they are destroying the lives of young people," says Watson.

And they are everywhere. Almost every day police or federal agents arrest what they call a "traveler," a sexual predator who uses the Web not just to ask an underage child for sex, but who also arranges a meeting. Sometimes, as in this arrest in Jefferson County, Colo. -- footage of which was obtained by CBS News -- the suspect meets an undercover cop instead of meeting a child.

Suspect: Do you want to go the house?
Officer: Sure, sounds good.
Suspect: 'Cause, I'd like to play.
Officer: Sounds good to me, I'm kinda nervous today.
Suspect: Ok, let's go.

Police arrested the suspect.

Sxual Predators
Read How To Fight Off Online Predators, a special report by Wyatt Andrews
Jefferson county investigator Mike Harris, who often poses online as a child, calls the number of predators on the Web frightening.

He says police are in a race to lure the predator, before the predator can lure a child.

It's part of the dark side of the Internet. Sexual predators who used to stalk potential victims in public parks and schoolyards can now sit behind a computer screen, in private, looking for vulnerable children.

Sexual Predators
Read this interview by Wyatt Andrews of Special Agent Pete Gullotta about the FBI's "Innocent Images" operation.
In response to travelers, and to child pornography, the FBI and local police have invented a new type of policing, undercover Internet investigations. The FBI operation, called Innocent Images, gets 26 new cases a week.

And the brazenness of travelers still amazes investigators. When Daniel Sandler was arrested trying to meet a 15-year-old boy in Florida, he had a 16-year-old victim already in his car.

Experts don't know why, perhaps the Web gives predators a sense of security, but with other violent crime going down, Internet travelers are a 21st century crime wave.

  • CBSNews.com staff CBSNews.com staff

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