SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — The investigative work for Sacramento County Sheriff’s detectives is far from over following the arrest of a 24-year-old Sacramento man on suspicion of child pornography.
In the past two years of the pandemic, with kids staying at home, a lot have used electronic devices for distance learning.
“During those efforts and those times, there was an opportunity for people like this. I think that is why these numbers over the past three years are staggering,” Undersheriff Jim Barnes said.
In 2020, the Sacramento Valley High Tech Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, or ICAC, said they received about 3,000 tips on potential crimes against children on the internet. They said that includes the tip about the 24-year-old Sacramento man, who they identified as Demetrius Davis.
In 2021, officials said that number doubled, reaching up to 6,000 tips.
“In 2022 — we’re not even halfway through the year — we’re already at 10,000 tips,” Barnes said. “These are our most prized possession: our kids. And our most vulnerable population who, for whatever reason, are just looking for an escape to get into their environment, connect with people. And you have people that are there that are trying to connect as people their age. With a screen name as Lizzy, you think it’s gonna be some child, and come to find out, it’s a 24-year-old male who’s been a predator.”
Investigators said they believe Davis victimized more than 80 kids across the country, ranging in age from 6 to 13, and they suspect there are 15 victims internationally.
Barnes said crimes against children have evolved to where the predator has easier access to them.
“It would be young people would be lured into a location, they would be lured into performing acts, a video would be produced and then it would be disseminated among the population that watches those videos,” Barnes explained. “This was done from his very own home on a cell phone — electronic devices that every person has access to.”
For the investigators, their work with the families of the young victims isn’t over with an arrest.
“I had to break the news to them about what had happened, and it is heart-wrenching to see the reaction of these, almost 100 families. And there’s more that we’re going to have to talk to,” Detective Daniel Heaton said.
Barnes said, while parents want their children to be independent, checking their cell phones and computers to make sure they’re not a victim is necessary, especially if a child is unusually protective over their device.