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Official warns on kids' social media use after Indian-origin man's arrest

IANS | October 28, 2020 02:07 PM

NEW YORK: A prosecutor has asked parents to monitor children's use of social media and gaming sites after the Indian-origin vice president of a financial firm and others were arrested in a sting operation against child sex in New Jersey.

Digant R. Patel (46), was listed on Tuesday by Somerset County Prosecutor Michael Robertson as one of 12 men arrested when they allegedly came to meet persons who they thought were minors but were undercover law enforcement personnel they had met online in social media or on gaming sites in the action called "Operation Spotlight".

Robertson said in a press release that after contact was made and "chatting began, the undercover officers clearly identified themselves as underage girls or boys. Despite that information, the defendants engaged the 'children' in conversations about sex and made arrangements to meet the 'children' for sex".

"The defendants were arrested when they arrived at one of three pre-arranged locations in Somerset County, where they expected to find their victims, " he said.

Patel, who is 46, allegedly thought he was meeting a 14-year-old, according to the press release.

Robertson said that parents should monitor their children's use of social media and gaming apps like Facebook, TikTok, Fortnite and Minecraft because predators may be lurking there.

Patch.com quoted him as giving the warning at a news conference:

"Parents need to be especially diligent, even before COVID, but especially now when everything is virtual. Schooling, hanging out a" kids are not hanging with one another they are on tablets or devices.

"The message is, if they don't know who it is, don't invite them into their chatroom or Fortnite game.a¿

In a similar action dubbed "Operation Open Doora¿ conducted exactly a year ago, state Attorney General Gurbir Grewal announced the arrest of at least four men on Indian descent, according to nj.com. They were identified as Duraikandan Murugan (40), Nimeshbha Patel (48), Niraj Patel (46), and Naveen Thangaraj (36).

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