On Friday President Obama signed a new law to crackdown on child sex offenders. The measure was pushed through congress by Texas Senator John Cornyn who also secured money for an Austin based special cybercrime fighting unit that tracks predators.
This past spring a man from the Metroplex was arrested near the corner of congress and Cesar Chavez. He was allegedly waiting for a 13-year old boy who he met on the internet.
However, the teenager was actually an undercover investigator with the Attorney General's Office. The case is still pending in Travis County District Court.
The special cybercrimes unit is part of a task force that searches for sex offenders. Friday morning, Attorney General Greg Abbott and Texas Senator John Cornyn announced the unit will continue to receive federal funding as part of a new law sponsored by the senator.
According to the Attorney General about 1500 arrests have been made by the unit since 2003.
"When we created this unit, I thought the message getting out to child predators would cause them to not to use the internet to assault children anymore but I'm amazed to see that some of the people we arrested we had arrested previously," Abbott said. "In fact the way our cybercrimes unit works they visit over the internet with some of the predators, and we were stunned once that one of the predators exchanging information with us said, we got to be careful about this because you know the Attorney General is looking into things like this, and so it shows the extremes some of these criminals will go to."
The Internet Crimes against Children task force gets about half a million dollars in federal funding. State lawmakers, when they return to Austin next month, are expected to be asked to provide more money.
Senator Cornyn also said the new federal law increases the punishment for possessing child pornography to 20 years in prison and will also help stream-line investigations.