Families Urged to Discuss Online Dangers as Spring Arrives
HARRISBURG – Acting Attorney General Bill Ryan has announced that agents from the Attorney General’s Child Predator Unit recently arrested two southeastern Pennsylvania men, both accused of using Internet chat rooms to sexually proposition young teenage girls, along with sending nude or sexually explicit webcam videos. The “girls” were actually undercover agents who were using the online profiles of 13-year old girls.
The defendants are identified as Scott Matthew Buck, 43, 5758 Lower Macungie Road, East Texas (Lehigh County) and Richard Thomas Spitzer, 39, 3 Winding Ridge Road, Collegeville (Montgomery County).
“As Spring weather brings changes in after-school activities and family schedules it is important for parents to regularly discuss Internet safety with their children,” Ryan said. “Online predators are hoping that more teens will be home alone for longer periods of time and may be spending more time on-line chatting with their friends, playing games or just exploring the Internet.”
Ryan noted that spring and summer typically bring an increase in the number of incidents involving Internet predators.
“Last year, more than 60 percent of our Child Predator Unit arrests occurred during the spring and summer months, including men from every corner of Pennsylvania and from as far away as Ohio, Maryland, New York and California, all trying to use the Internet to sexually victimize children,” Ryan said.
Scott Matthew Buck
Ryan said that Buck is accused of using Internet chat rooms to approach two different undercover agents from the Child Predator Unit, who were using the profiles of young teens from the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh areas.
According to the criminal complaint, Buck sent nude webcam videos during his first online encounters with both girls, asking, “ever see a guy down there,” and, “wanna see what happens when a guy is excited?”
Ryan said that Buck allegedly instructed one of the girls to masturbate while he sent numerous nude webcam videos, asked if she had any other friends who he could send videos to and urged the girl to send him photos of herself.
Buck was arrested on Wednesday, March 16th, by agents from the Child Predator Unit, assisted by Pennsylvania State Police from the Fogelsville Barracks.
Buck is charged with ten counts of unlawful contact with a minor and one count of criminal use of a computer, all third-degree felonies which are each punishable by up to seven years in prison and $15,000 fines.
Buck was preliminarily arraigned before Allentown Magisterial District Judge Charles H. Crawford and lodged in the Lehigh County Prison in lieu of $100,000 straight bail. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for March 22nd, at 11 a.m. at the Lehigh County Courthouse.
Buck will be prosecuted in Lehigh County by Deputy Attorney General Christopher J. Jones of the Attorney General’s Child Predator Unit.
Ryan thanked the Pennsylvania State Police for their cooperation and assistance with this investigation.
Richard Thomas Spitzer
Ryan said that Spitzer is also accused of contacting multiple undercover agents from the Child Predator Unit, believing that they were 13-year old girls.
According to the criminal complaint, during his first chat with an agent from Pittsburgh, Spitzer asked, “are you a little girl 13 or a naughty young adult 13,” before sending several images of adult pornography.
Ryan said that Spitzer allegedly sent numerous pornographic photos and videos, along with webcam videos that showed him nude and masturbating in front of his computer. Spitzer also repeatedly expressed a desire to meet the girl for sex and explained in graphic detail the acts he wished to perform.
Spitzer was arrested on Thursday, March 17th by agents from the Child Predator Unit, assisted by officers from the Upper and Lower Providence Township Police Departments.
Spitzer is charged with six counts of unlawful contact with a minor and one count of criminal use of a computer, all third-degree felonies which are each punishable by up to seven years in prison and $15,000 fines.
Spitzer was preliminarily arraigned before Collegeville Magisterial District Judge Cathleen Kelly Rebar who set bail at $100,000 unsecured. Spitzer is also prohibited from using the Internet, except for work, and may not have any unsupervised contact with minors.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for March 24th at 11 a.m.
Spitzer will be prosecuted in Lehigh County by Deputy Attorney General Christopher J. Jones of the Attorney General’s Child Predator Unit.
Ryan thanked the Upper and Lower Providence Township Police Departments for their cooperation and assistance with this investigation.
Ryan urged parents to talk regularly with kids about being safe on the Internet and to stress the importance of telling a trusted adult if someone does something inappropriate online, including:
Sending explicit photos or videos.
Sending links to pornography.
Trying to arrange face-to-face meetings.
Additionally, Ryan said parents and other caregivers should also monitor how kids are using the Internet, including:
Checking the websites they use frequently.
Searching the social networking sites they visit.
Asking them to show you their online profiles on FaceBook, MySpace and other websites.
Discussing the items they may be posting online.
Ryan added that parents and kids need to understand that safety concerns now extend beyond home computers.
“The same safety rules need to be applied to cell phones, game systems and other portable devices that can be used to send and receive messages, share photos or access websites,” Ryan said.
Ryan also encouraged parents to stress the importance of not sharing personal information online, like full names, ages, addresses, phone numbers and school information, and added that children should always be especially cautious about strangers who approach them online.
Suspected internet predators can be reported to the Attorney General’s Office by submitting an online “Report a Predator” complaint or by calling the toll-free Child Predator Hotline at 1-800-385-1044.