Internet sex crime expected to jump |

Internet sex crime expected to jump

J.K. Perry
Shane Macomber/Daily file photo Deputy Tamra Blackard of the Eagle County Sheriff's Office heads a task force to identify and catch Internet sex predators who try to meet children.

Vail, CO ColoradoEAGLE COUNTY – Authorities expect online sex crimes to increase after the creation of theEagle County Sheriff’s task force that arrested Glenwood Springs resident Kyle Wynkoop.Wynkoop, 33, allegedly chatted about sex online with a young girl. Authorities nabbed Wynkoop in September after he contacted an Eagle County Sheriff’s deputy posing as a 13-year-old girl. Wynkoop allegedly used the Yahoo user name “koopdaddy411” to perform sex acts on a Web camera and to chat explicitly with the deputy.County prosecutors have charged the 33-year-old Glenwood Springs resident with five counts of sexual exploitation of a child. Wynkoop has not yet entered a plea.

While the case against Wynkoop isn’t the first Internet sex crime in Eagle County, it is the first in which a deputy trolling for online predators nabbed a suspect. “I think we’ll probably start seeing more of these because of the task force they have, so this is the very beginning of it all,” Eagle County District Attorney Mark Hurlbert said.Online predators already exist, it’s just authorities lacked the ability to catch them in the past, Hurlbert said.District Court Judge Fred Gannett is presiding over Wynkoop’s case. To remain impartial, Gannett refused to comment specifically on the case. Like the movement to expose date rape as a crime in the past, Gannett suspects the task force might prompt victims to report online sex crimes.And the outcome might not be pretty, he said.

“I think most law enforcement officers would tell you the number of identified crimes is much lower than the number of unreported crimes,” Gannett said. “I think (the task force) should have the effect of making it easier to report, which may have the shocking, corresponding effect that there is more of this out there than one would have hoped.”In general, Wynkoop’s alleged crime is an evolution of Internet crime, Gannett said.”There’s never a shortage of good con artists,” Gannett said. “This is just another tool in the arsenal of someone looking to exploit. As this communication device becomes more accessible, it’s going to be used in more ways and not necessarily ways that are acceptable.”Eagle County Sheriff Joe Hoy understands his department is playing catch up to criminals. “For every new piece of tech where people can communicate – especially kids – people are going to try to use that technology to introduce themselves and find kids,” Hoy said.He plans to confer with other governmental and private agencies to ensure the Sheriff’s Office does all it can to catch predators exploiting children, but in the end, responsibility rests on the shoulders of parents and their kids, Hoy said.

“The more parents and kids become aware of it, they’ll be on the look out for the signs,” Hoy said. “Now they’ll say ‘Oh, we need to report this.’ I think parents, especially when the kids are on the chat rooms, they need to be especially active.”Staff Writer J.K. Perry can be reached at 748-2928 or

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