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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Sirens & Gavels

Child safety event focuses on ‘sexting’

The Spokane Police Department and Spokane County Sheriff's Office are co-hosting an event Wednesday to raise awareness about child safety.

The "Take 25" national campaign calls for parents, guardians and educators to take 25 minutes to talk to their children about safety.

Law enforcement officials will offer tips, conversations starters and safety-oriented activities Wednesday at the Spokane Valley Mall from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The emphasis will be on sexually explicit text messages, or sexting.

"51% of teen girls say pressure from a guy is a reason they send sexy messages or images; only 18% of teen boys cited pressure from female counterparts as a reason," according to a police news release. "Law enforcement officials encourage parents to maintain communication with their children by staying calm, being supportive and learning as much as possible about the situation. Talking, sending or forwarding a sexual picture of someone underage, even if it’s you, it’s a crime. Teens have been removed from sports teams, faced humiliation and have been in trouble with the law."

Take 25 was started by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children in honor of National Missing Children's Day, which is Wednesday.

The campaign comes as Spokane police detectives are investigating several child pornography cases, including two that resulted in searches at two addresses last week.

A 22-year-old man was targeted in a search at 5202 S. Ferrall St., and a 17-year-old boy was targeted during a search at 2917 E. Hoffman. Neither suspect has been arrested, but detectives say they are confident charges will be filed for pornography on computers, camera and other digital devices seized during the searches.

The material will be forensically examined before charges are filed.

"Each photo depicting a minor engaged in sexually explicit behavior will add an additional charge," Officer Jennifer DeRuwe said in a news release.

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