A youth mentor was arrested this week on charges of producing child pornography. 3News spoke with experts who have tips for parents on trying to protect your kids from these kinds of predators.
The suspect, 37-year-old Kevin McMillan, is the founder ofTtexas Youth Entrepreneurs, a nonprofit youth organization that mentors young people who want to be future business owners.
According to a criminal complaint, McMillan began sending inappropiate text messages to a 13-year-old girl. Once the girl's parents found out and called police, that 13-year-old also alerted police that McMillan was in contact with a 14-year-old girl as well.
The 14-year-old said she sent nude photos of herself to McMillan at his request, and she even captured a photo of them having sex.
McMillan will appear in court next week.
Experts said there are things parents can do to help ensure their kids are being entrusted to people who have been trained and checked out.
"Go online for any type of ratings," said David Prado, Superintendent of the Corpus Christi Juvenile Assessment Center. "If the program gets training or certification for their employees, what kind of training and what kind of certifications? How often are they recertified in these trainings? If they are required by the State to do any type of licensing requirements, how often does the State come in and do any type of reporting on them?"
Prado encourages parents to contact the Texas Department of Family and Health Services or CPD to find more information on any group that is designed to help and care for underage children.
"A lot of times when kids are sexually abused, there's changes in their eating or sleeping habits," said Kimberly Beck, a therapist at the Children's Advocacy Center of the Coastal Bend. "Or you might notice that they're angry or more sad or acting out."
Beck said the best way to detect any problems is a frank and open discussion with your children.
"It's really important to have communication with your kids starting early on," Beck said. "I think that's the key, is starting early on. And also, it's never too late. But having that communication and asking them how their day is every day so that you know your child and you know, you can pick up on changes in their behavior."
As part of the case against McMillan involves inappropriate texts and pictures sent by cell phone, Beck said parents should be more aware when their kids have independent and unsupervised access to the internt, and talk with your kids about every situation.
"Let them know that if something's uncomfortable, if there's an adult that's making you uncomfortable, asking you to keep secrets, or spending more one on one time with you than anyone else, to find a different adult that you can trust," Beck said.
If convicted, McMillan faces up to 30 years in prison.