Ratchet Page Not an Internet Crime Says Law Enforcement Official Dealing With the Investigation

By Diana L. Chapman

 Images that blossomed on Facebook pages of "ratchet" girls in the Harbor Area in early December were not criminal and were considered child "erotica," rather than pornography, says a lead investigator who heads a regional task force that deals with internet crime against children.

However, Los Angeles Police Lt. Andrea Grossman reported it as cyberbullying to Facebook and the company removed those sites within one hour of her call.

No penal codes applied in this instance, Grossman explained.

"It's not a criminal act," said Grossman, who heads the regional ICAC, Internet Crimes Against Children, a multi-agency task force of local, state and federal law enforcement officers. "We looked at the site. It was child erotica. That is not illegal.

"It's not (child) pornography," which is a crime, she explained.

 Grossman says the Facebook sites that appeared around Dec. 2 using students images, some of scantily clad girls from San Pedro and Banning High Schools,  did appear to be "pure cyberbullying"; However, currently no laws exist to make cyberbullying a crime giving the agency no teeth to legally force internet sites, such as My Space or Facebook, to pull cyberbullying sites down.

Facebook, however, was fully cooperative, she said.

"We can't force them to take down the sites," Grossmann said. "It's up to Facebook. But once I contacted Facebook, they responded in one hour which is pretty good time."

Grossman's task force covers five counties: Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Ventura, Orange and San Bernadino. Crimes involving children on the internet, Grossman said, should be reported immediately to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children which acts like a clearing house for such crimes and alerts local authorities in charge. For instance, if an internet pornography complaint came in to the National Center involving a child in San Pedro, Grossman said, her task force would be notified to investigate immediately.

 The task force also must report back to the center as to what happened with the case.

The local issue erupted when the internet group San Pedro California began complaining about the sites saying they had "offensive," demeaning, and abusive photographs of girls from the area along with derogatory comments.

Those commenting on the sites called some of the girls "hos" (whores) or claimed that some girls gave sex freely. While many in the California group reported their concerns to Facebook via the internet, the sites remained up until Los Angeles Councilman Joe Buscaino took a stance and called in Grossman's task force and other agencies to try and force their shut down.

Facebook removed San Pedro Rachets, Wilmington Rachets and San Pedro Hotties from their pages, agreeing with Grossman and many of its complaining users that cyberbullying had occurred which goes against Facebook policies. Rachets, according to the Urban Dictionary, are a "diva, mostly from urban cities and ghettos, that has reason to believe she is every man's eye candy. Unfortunately, she's wrong."

Buscaino, known for working closely with teens when he was an LAPD officer, said he considered the pages slanderous and abusive.

While no laws exist now regarding cyberbullying, Grossman said, there are other laws that might fit but didn't work in this case. Laws specifically against cyberbullying eventually might be implemented, she said, especially since the topic has riveted the nation after several youths committed suicide who became victims of internet attacks.

The Internet Crimes Against Children is a federally funded agency  that formed 61  national teams devoted to fight child exploitation via the internet and offers "reactive, proactive, and forensic investigations and criminal investigations," its site reports.

Since its formation in 1998, the task forces have dealt with 280,000 complaints of alleged sex abuse against children and led to 30,000 arrests, according to the national Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

The beauty of these agencies, Grossman added, is that internet crime is "everywhere," and it's not something that the Los Angeles police can deal with alone. Agencies had to join together to be effective, she said.

The program offers training to agencies that might be involved including schools, Grossman said. In this instance the schools, Banning High and San Pedro High, would be responsible to carry out further investigation of who the perpetrators were that put up the sites.

Internet users who believe they have concerns of child exploitation on the internet can report it too www.missingkids.com or call  1-800-843-5678.

Views: 732


You need to be a member of San Pedro News Pilot to add comments!

Join San Pedro News Pilot

Comment by Valerie Smith-Griffin on December 24, 2012 at 9:36am
A re-post of my comment posted yesterday (Do not see it)

Not surprised in the least - the page was absolutely disgusting and degrading, no argument there - but to remove it would seem to be Internet censorship - and there my friends, is most likely, why it stays.

Call (323) 200-9052 to learn more or click here to send an email.

San Pedro Weather

San Pedro News Pilot by email - sign up!

Delivered by FeedBurner

What is the SanPedroNewsPilot.com?

The SanPedroNewsPilot.com is the social network and information outlet for San Pedro.

Want to keep up with the news in San Pedro, become a member.


Membership has its privileges!

• Got news you think everyone should know? Blog it.
• Have a show or attending a benefit? Put it on the calendar.
• Got video of the big game? Embed it.
• Photos of the new storefront or the school play? Upload them.

Latest Activity

Profile IconCentral San Pedro Neighborhood Council
OCTOBER 13, 2015 Edition: See More
Bonnie Barchichat posted an event

Senior Comedy Afternoons Presents HOWL- O- WEEN! at The South Bay

October 18, 2015 from 12pm to 3pm
For Immediate Release                                            Contact: Bonnie                                                                               714.914.2565                                     HOWL-O-WEEN SHOW!                                            OCTOBER 18th                                    TORRANCE DOUBLETREE —-Bonnie Barchichat’s Senior Comedy Afternoons is proud to once again be presenting it’s next luncheon show- party and social happening for Seniors and Boomers at…See More
Profile IconCentral San Pedro Neighborhood Council
Oct 7
Profile IconCentral San Pedro Neighborhood Council
       Feature Photo : Keep the Fuel & Walk to SchoolWhat We Do Series: Complete Streets Committee The newly formed LADOT Complete Streets Committee is a forum for a collaborative approach to provide a comprehensive roadmap to resolve design issues, document innovative ideas, and lead the department on new design related standards and policy directives. The […] See More
Oct 7
Stearns Musical Theatre Company updated their profile
Oct 7
Stearns Musical Theatre Company posted an event

Magic for You! – Magical handpicked numbers from our past 14 years at Bixby Auditorium

November 14, 2015 from 2pm to 4pm
“Magic for You! – Magical handpicked numbers from our past 14 years” is the fall musical variety show brought to you by Stearns Musical Theatre Company (SMTC).  This enchanted show full of song and dance numbers will take place at the Bixby Auditorium at 5251 E Stearns St. Long Beach, CA 90815. Show include songs from shows performed by SMTC in the past 14 years such as There is Nothing Like A Dame from South Pacific, Big Dollhouse from Hairspray, select songs from Annie and so much more. …See More
Oct 7
Barbara Toyama posted a status
"I want to stay in touch with San Pedro"
Oct 7
Barbara Toyama updated their profile
Oct 7

© 2015   Created by San Pedro News Pilot.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service