News Story


Partnership with Purdue University
10/20/2016 2:00:00 PM


Nature of Incident:

Partnership with Purdue University

Report Number:




Date & Time:


Unit(s) Responsible:

Ventura County Sheriff's Office's Special Crimes Unit / Crime Analysis Unit








The Ventura County Sheriff's Office has entered into a research study partnership with Dr. Kathryn Seigfried-Spellar from Purdue University to study patterns of online sexual predators. 


In recent years, the use of social media and other online communication portals as an avenue to commit sex crimes has increased dramatically.  According to the U.S. Department of Justice, approximately one in seven youth Internet users received unwanted sexual solicitations and one in twenty-five youths received an online sexual solicitation in which the solicitor tried to make an offline contact.  Studies have suggested that there is a difference between sexual predators who only wish to exchange information online and those who wish to meet in person with juvenile victims.


Dr. Seigfried-Spellar works routinely with law enforcement agencies and specializes in research merging behavioral sciences with cybercrime, specifically the personality characteristics of computer deviants.  In this partnership, Dr. Seigfried-Spellar will examine various social media communications between predators and minors in an attempt to identify certain predictors that will indicate which predators are likely to lure a minor to meet in person. 


The Ventura County Sheriff's Office hopes the study will someday help investigators prioritize cases involving inappropriate content sent to a minor and allow them to quickly target suspects who are likely to lure a victim to an off line meeting.


Parents are encouraged to monitor their children's online activities and keep an open dialog about the associated risks.  For more information on internet safety, parents should visit     





Prepared by:

Sergeant Eric Tennessen


News Release Date:

October 20, 2016


Media Follow-Up Contact:

Sergeant Eric Tennessen




Approved by:

Captain Robert Thomas



Ventura County Crime Stoppers will pay up to $1,000 reward for information, which leads to the arrest and criminal complaint against the person(s) responsible for this crime.  The caller may remain anonymous.  The call is not recorded.  Call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477).