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Caldwell authorities charge 3 men with internet sex crimes involving minors

Over the past month, the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office has charged three men with numerous internet sex crimes involving minors, officials said Friday.

The investigations were part of an effort to stop the abuse of minors through social media and to prevent potential sexual assault on minors, the sheriff’s office said.

“Being proactive towards predators that seek to harm our children is the best way to prevent those predators from harming them,” said Sheriff Alan Jones. “I am proud of the officers for taking these proactive approaches to prevent the victimization of children in this county.”

On Feb. 7, Ronnie Logan Fisher, 40, of Statesville was charged with solicitation of a minor by computer to commit unlawful sex act/appeared at meeting location, officials said. He was placed under a $100,000 secured bond and remains in custody at the Caldwell County Detention Center.

On Feb. 19, Hunter James Lee McNeil, 18, was charged with solicitation of a minor by computer to commit unlawful sex act/appeared at meeting location, disseminate obscene material to minor, fleeing to elude arrest and hit and run, among others, the sheriff’s office said. He was also placed under a $100,000 secured bond.

On Wednesday, Ethan Cole Davis, 22, was charged with solicitation of a minor by computer to commit unlawful sex act and disseminate obscene material to minor, officials said. He was placed in the Caldwell County Detention Center under a $25,000 bond.

The Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office is part of the Internet Crimes Against Children task force, which includes numerous local, state and federal law enforcement agencies.

The sheriff’s office offered these tips for parents to ensure child safety on the internet and social media:

• Monitor your child’s activities while they are online.

• Know the passwords to your child’s email and social media accounts and regularly review the content.

• Become familiar with your child’s contact lists connected with their phone, email account or social media accounts.

• Review content stored on your child’s phone and personal computer, such as texts or photographs.

• If your child is allowed to have a social media profile, limit the amount of personal information that your child attaches to the profile.

• Follow the guide that all information placed on a social media profile can be seen by everyone, regardless of privacy settings for the account.

• Report every incident of inappropriate conduct toward your child to law enforcement.

• Become familiar with the various applications your child may be using on their smartphone, tablet, or computer (Tango, Instagram, Facebook, KiK, Snapchat, Meet Me, Tagged, etc.)

• Make use of the parental controls that are programmed in to many of the devices.

Trenda: 704-358-5089; Twitter: @htrenda
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