But child abuse attorney Michael Steinger says the theme park is safe
ORLANDO – AT least 35 Disney employees have been arrested in sex stings since 2006, according to a new report. Attorney Michael Steinger, who focuses on child abuse cases, says the numbers are disturbing do not signal a safety crisis.
The stings were not specifically focused on theme park employees, but caught a number of them according to the investigative report by CNN (retrieved 7/24/2014). In addition to Disney, five employees from Universal Studios and two from SeaWorld were also arrested. Charges ranged from sex crimes involving children to possession of child pornography.
“Theme parks are a place where children gather and that makes them a tempting setting for child sex predators,” said Steinger, the founder of Steinger, Greene & Feiner law firm. “It’s not surprising that so many were found working there.”
However, Steinger says it’s important to put the numbers in perspective.
“Disney’s theme park has 70,000 employees at a time,” he said. “A decade of stings turned up 35 suspected predators, and none of them are known to have approached children at the theme park.”
Instead, the stings used detectives posing as minors online to attract would-be predators, who were then arrested when they tried to meet the “minor” for sex. Still, Steinger admits the results are alarming.
“It should serve as a wakeup call to parents in all kinds of settings,” he said. “Disney puts a lot of resources into screening its employees. But a school, a church or a summer camp might not have those resources. It’s important to remember that predators can strike anywhere there are children.”
So far, 32 of the suspects have been convicted.
“Most likely, Disney is as safe as anywhere you could take your kids,” Steinger said. “But someone you trust should be supervising them no matter where they are.”
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