TAMPA – The girl was 6 years old when the unthinkable happened. Her uncle sexually abused her and captured the crime with a still camera and videotape. He posted the pictures on the Internet for all to see.
Now, eight years later, that girl is getting ready to enter high school, but her horrific past continues to haunt her. Her story was front and center at a meeting this morning of the Florida Attorney General’s Child Predator Cybercrimes Task Force.
Representatives from 15 law enforcement agencies gathered to share success stories and hear from the parents of the young victim. Her stepmother and father say she is an A student, despite what happened. Still, a trip to the mall can be en eerie event as she wonders whether the man eating at a table has seen her sexually explicit pictures and recognizes her.
The girl’s family said it receives an e-mail notification every time her images are downloaded, which adds to her worries.
“Every time that she knows that her image was downloaded, she re-enacts the whole event. And that is almost as bad or worse that the original act itself,” said her father, whom TBO.com is not identifying due to the nature of the crime.
The Cybercrimes task force will be a year old in July and has made more than 30 arrests of men who stalked young people in the Internet.
“Every predator we take off the street, that’s a potential one less predator that can actually go out and offend on a child,” said Lt. Michael Baute, who helped put the task force together.
Hearing from the parents of the abused child, Baute said, helps motivate his team members to make more cases.