10News Accompanies FBI Sting To Catch Online Sex Predators

10News gets extraordinary access to an undercover FBI cyber sting to see the growing problem of online child sex predators up close.

Pedophiles have a game plan for how to molest children, and they're prowling the Internet in bigger and bigger numbers, hoping to lure kids into cyber hook-ups.

"For every guy we catch, there are more out there," said FBI agent Dan Evans.

10News went along on an undercover FBI cyber sting with Agent Evans, who posed as a 13-year-old girl in a teen chat room. The rules say no dirty talk. He logged in as "Jennygrl99" and waited to be approached. It doesn't take long. Jack was first.

"The first thing he says is, 'I love having sex with my sister,'" said Evans.

Jack says his sister 12 years old. Within ten minutes, there are 25 messages.

"It's how do we get a child and to heck with everything else," said Evans.

Thirty-eight different men sent messages in less than a half hour. More than 90 percent went straight to sex. All the men claimed to be in their early 20s. Some immediately want to know what the other is wearing, what they look like, or what they've done with a boyfriend, but others start out more slowly.

"The scary ones are the ones that approach you and just have a normal conversation," said Evans. "It's the 45-year-old that says, 'How was your day, what do you like, do you like animals?' It's that guy who's trying to build a bond."

That's called the grooming process. Former FBI agent Bob Hamer saw it first-hand when he spent three years undercover in NAMBLA, the North American Man-Boy Love Association.

"They would groom a boy the same way as a man would court a woman," said Hamer.

Some would work the relationship for months to get it to sex.

"You're talking about 50-year-old men who wanted to have sex with 8-year-old boys," said Hamer.

Whether through Internet sites or offline targets, predators always follow the children, and San Diego is a prime location. Hamer was in the NAMBLA National Conference as they planned a future meeting.

"They decided to come to San Diego because of LegoLand," said Hamer. "So these are men that chose to go where children are."

"How would we recognize a predator?" asked 10News Anchor Kimberly Hunt.

"I don't think you can," responded Hamer.

Agents said predators can be a 50-year-old man posing as a 20-year-old on the Internet or those you pass by everyday.

"They looked like they could have very well been your next door neighbor or your child's Little League coach, or your son's teacher," said Hamer.

Agent Hamer was wearing a hidden camera inside a NAMBLA meeting. His operation brought down eight members of NAMBLA's inner circle.

Several were arrested here in San Diego as they boarded a boat for Mexico to have sex with little boys. Among them were a psychologist, a dentist, a special education teacher, an ordained minister and a personal trainer.

"What they all had in common was this sexual attraction to boys," said Hamer.

The FBI's cyber squad investigates hundreds of Internet crimes against children every year in San Diego.

The problem was acknowledged recently by San Diego's Chief of Police William Landsdowne who said in an interview, "Unsupervised access to the Internet by a 14-year-old is far more dangerous than going to any park in the city of San Diego."