GARDEN CITY, N.Y. (CBS 2) – A Long Island teenager is credited with putting an alleged sexual predator behind bars.
The Garden City girl was pressured into sending explicit videos of herself to a man in upstate New York – until she decided enough was enough, reports CBS 2′s Dave Carlin.
Professional landscaper and father of two Timothy Laskaris allegedly tricked, and for months bullied, a Long Island girl into performing for him via Internet webcam.
“The videos were all of a sexual nature,” Garden City Police Det. Sgt. Jim Bartkowski said.
Laskaris, 59, was in Getzville, upstate near Buffalo, while the girl from Long Island was under 16 years old.
Investigators say Laskaris posed as a 23-year-old, and that the girl followed his instructions during Internet chats from February through October.
“He stated that, ‘if you do not do what I tell you to do and send me more videos, I will then post the previous videos online for everybody to see,’” Det. Sgt. Bartkowski said. “When she finally reached her limit, she told her father.”
Garden City police made the arrest, confiscated computers, and said they believe Laskaris may be responsible for dozens of similar crimes across the country.
With danger lurking online, parents are urged to supervise and investigate what their children are doing while on their computers.
Stephanie Emma Pfeffer is an editor at Family Circle Magazine.
“You should emphasize that they can always expect to have you checking their online logs, records, Facebook profiles, and definitely get some parenting monitoring software so you are always in the loop of what they’re doing when you are not around,” Pfeffer said.
When adults fail to get through, parents and educators can turn to a group called Teen Angels, which have chapters across the nation – including right here in the tri-state area. These local teenagers meet with other kids, in homes and schools, to talk about online bullying and predators.
“You stop talking to the person who contacted you, you block them so they can’t talk to you anymore, and you tell a trusted adult to help you with the situation,” Maria L., a Teen Angel, said.
Maria said the victim in Garden City should have used “stop, block and tell” at the very first contact, to prevent abuse and humiliation.
Laskaris was arraigned Thursday on charges of promoting a sexual performance by a child, disseminating indecent materials to minors and endangering the welfare of a child.