One of Dateline's investigations this year was conducted in Petaluma, California—an hour north of San Francisco, the town where John Mark Karr, the former suspect in the John Benet Ramsey murder was charged with five counts of possession of child pornography. It was also the hometown of Polly Klaas a 12-year-old abducted and murdered by a sex predator.
"This is a beautiful community with wonderful people in it. And there isn’t anything about it that caused that event to happen here," says Sergeant Matthew Stapleton, Petaluma Police Department. "The Polly Klaas tragedy is capable of happening in anywhere, USA."
Click on the 'Launch' link on this page to watch Web-exclusive video of Chris Hansen’s interview with Robert De Leo, executive director of the Polly Klaas Foundation. De Leo talks about the sting conducted in Petaluma, and his advice for parents who worry about kids and their online use.
Here's an excerpt of what De Leo advises parents:
- Learn about the Internet and learn what the dangers are. Parents need to sit by their child, and work with them. Know that the Internet is also a highway. No parent who has a son or daughter that just learned how to drive would give them the keys and say, “Go where you want, do what you want.” Share information with them about real things that happened to real kids.
- Create expectations that they’re going to be monitored.
- Let them know that you’re going to be there for them in case things go haywire. Make them feel that they can come back to you and say, “I am in trouble.”