'The Dr Oz Show' features sting operation as journalist Mara Schiavocampo teams up with Houston police to catch alleged pedophile
"So he believed he was chatting with a 14-year-old girl and he came over for the purposes of having sex with her. He was dropped off by a friend and when he got there and the moment he realized things weren't quite right, he bolted. He ran immediately. Officers had to chase him down," she said.
On Friday's episode of ‘The Dr. Oz Show’, the host discussed the rise of child sexual abuse in the U.S. With journalist Mara Schiavocampo as his guest, Dr. Oz showed the viewers a live map of predators around the world who were downloading explicit content related to child abuse.
He said, “In 1998, 20 years ago, there were over 4,000 reports of child sex abuse imagery. He asked, “Mara, what happened a decade later?” Schiavocampo said, “In 2008, that number had risen to more than 100,000. In 2014, it skyrocketed to more than one million.”
“Shockingly, last year there were 18.4 million. That's almost a third of the total reported to date in one year. That's 4,000 times more an increase from 1998, just the last year,” he said. “What gives? I'm seeing headlines around this on all the major papers. What led to this explosion?”
Schiavocampo explained the problem was rooted in technology: “There are more ways to share photos and videos today than there have ever been before, from messaging apps to cloud storage, even video game systems. Anything that allows you to share images is infested with child sexual predators. They're not just using this technology to share images with each other, they're using it to solicit images by trying to connect directly with children.”
The journalist also spoke about how she got an invitation from law enforcement in Houston, Texas. She said, “We really wanted to get a sense of how law enforcement is tackling this problem. So we spent 24 hours with officers in the biggest city in the country, working to get pedophiles off the street. What I witnessed was even worse than I imagined.”
The scene cut to the footage of the journalist accompanying officer Gary Spurger of the Harris County Sheriff's department, who runs the task force that works against pedophiles. Spurger told her, “Our function is to hunt down those individuals who would hunt our children. We're looking for individuals who are sharing child pornography on the Internet. We're looking for individuals who want to come to meet a child.”
Along with the police, Schiavocampo was involved in a sting, in a bid to catch a potential pedophile. Speaking about the incident, she said. “Yeah. So he believed he was chatting with a 14-year-old girl and he came over for the purposes of having sex with her. He was dropped off by a friend and when he got there and the moment he realized things weren't quite right, he bolted. He ran immediately. Officers had to chase him down. They brought him back in. When they emptied his pockets, as you saw he did have condoms, which speaks to his intent for being there."
She added, "The funny thing is that he actually spoke to me. He believed that I was the mother of the 14-year-old girl and so he was apologizing to me saying, I wasn't going to do anything to her, this is a big misunderstanding, please you have to understand. He can tell that to the judge now because he's facing 2-10 years in prison and $10,000 fine.”
'The Dr. Oz Show' airs on ABC on weekdays.