x
Breaking News
More () »

Virtual crimes are growing concern during online learning

"We aren’t going to stand for that whether that’s in person or online in a virtual setting. We must all be vigilant, we must all watch."
Credit: StoryBlocks

SCRANTON, Pa. — Some prosecutors in our region are already seeing cases related to virtual schools, with cameras revealing what they call criminal behavior.

A Lackawanna County man was recently arrested and charged.

Police said he was caught on camera doing something lewd in front of a class of students; it is just one example of what some prosecutors say they are concerned about now more than ever.

“There is an element of society that will capitalize on different avenues of to exploit children, and as the district attorney, we aren’t going to stand for that whether that’s in person or online in a virtual setting. We must all be vigilant, we must all watch," said Lackawanna County District Attorney Mark Powell.

Members of law enforcement said with so many people working from home and learning from home, there are different kinds of crimes to consider: people being forced to see sexual content, violence, or other illegal activities.

The technology has been there for some time now, but they said it has never before been used on a scale like this.

“It sort of just changed into a virtual world where we’re seeing maybe something that may be similar, crimes that are occurring that may be similar, but now it’s happening in a virtual world, and it actually assists us as prosecutors and law enforcement because instead of having maybe one person, you now have a number of people who could all be victims of a crime and they’re all accounted for," said Luzerne County District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis.

The district attorneys said these crimes can be very serious, and they consider anyone who sees them to be a victim.

“It’s going to be inevitable, there’s going to be more opportunities to get a snapshot in someone’s home, and if someone is engaging in criminal activity, that’s going to be captured," said Powell.

“We are determined to follow through on any act like that we will hold them accountable, and we will search those people out, and we will charge them," said Salavantis.

Those top prosecutors urge anyone who thinks they have witnessed a crime to call police where they live.