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Steve Novotney Says, "Be a Parent"

It is true; one is innocent until proven guilty in court, and that is exactly the fact concerning this report recently from the West Virginia State Police that concerns a 31-year-old Wheeling man who allegedly attempted to have a sexual relationship with a 12-year-old boy.

It is a story we hear far too often in our country these days, so when our news partner, WTRF-TV, reported the following this past Monday, it brought a mix of emotions.

"A Wheeling man is behind bars after police say he attempted to have a sexual relationship with a 12-year-old boy.

According to officials with the West Virginia State Police, Christopher John Roshak, 31, of Wheeling sent the child a friend request on Facebook, where the mother accepted."

The mother accepted the friend request?

"Police say Roshak then began chatting with the mother, thinking she was her son. He then allegedly sent an explicit image of himself, prompting the mother to contact authorities.

"'They just began chatting. Mr. Roshak at one point asked the 12-year-old boy if he was gay, and then the conversation began to develop from there. The mother just spoke to him about normal things, and Mr. Roshak turned the conversation sexual,' said Sergeant Scott Adams of the West Virginia State Police."

This is the part of the story that had me thanking The Lord it was the child's mother instead of the 12-year-old.

"Police then continued communication with Roshak where he said he would 'perform various sexual acts' and displayed himself naked in a video chat session.

"Authorities set up a meeting at a business in Elm Grove with Roshak where they arrested him.

According to West Virginia State Police, Roshak is being charged with Distribution of Obscene Matter to a Minor, Distribution With Intent to Seduce, and Soliciting a Minor, Traveling to Engage in Sex."

Sgt. Adams then explained that he had apprehended this man two years ago and charged him Possession of Child Pornography after discovering between 200 and 300 images of child pornography in his possession. Adams ALSO explained that Roshak was NOT ordered in federal court to register with the state of West Virginia as a sex offender.

Why not?

That's a question law enforcement officers and state and federal lawmakers should ask until they get the real answer. Meanwhile Roshak was lodged in the Northern Regional Jail with a set bail at $300,000. If convicted, the man could face up to a $25,000 fine and/or up to five years in jail for each of the first two charges and as much as a $25,000 and five-to-30 years in prison on the soliciting charge. A court date has not been released to the public.

"Sgt. Adams said the best thing to learn from this case is that parents should always be checking on their children's social network accounts."

It's an easy lesson, frankly, whether or not Adams and local prosecutors are successful with proving this particular individual is guilty of what he is accused of, and that's because Internet predators are real, and such online creepers represent a threat to our young people. They lie, make false promises, and often pledge good times away from Mom and Dad all to entice our children to a behavior that will change them forever.

Be an aware parent, always and forever.