DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — The arrest of a man in Queens has prompted the FBI to warn families about online predators who entice kids into acts of self-harm and sexual abuse.
Acting on tips, FBI agents arrested Angel Ameida, now 23, for illegal possession of a gun by a felon. Next, they found his alleged activity with “764.”
This online group, and others like it, use threats and blackmail to lure youths into recording “self-harm” or sexually explicit acts, according to an FBI statement.
Agents searching Almeida’s home in Astoria found flags and books associated with another group, the “Order of Nine Angles” or “O9A.”
This worldwide organization embraces Satanism, neo-Nazism, and white supremacy, the document states, according to court records. The Guardian reported that 764 is an offshoot of O9A.
“Members and associates of O9A have also participated in acts of violence, including murder,” the document stated.
Almeida, arrested in 2021, was jailed and awaits trial. Charges include sexual contact with two minor females whom he allegedly enticed over the internet.
The FBI issued warnings about groups like 764 just before the Halloween season — a time when curious youth have been known to seek out “spooky” activities.
But journalist Chris Hansen, host and producer of “To Catch a Predator,” urged parents to take steps constantly to safeguard their children.
He told The Tablet that the digital danger has only intensified in the 20 years he has been reporting on it.
Pedophiles, he explained, are increasingly adept at using the internet to secretly execute their schemes.
“In the digital era,” Hansen said, “the guy who’s a stranger on Wednesday is so adept at grooming your child, that he’s not a stranger by the time Friday rolls around.”
A protective mindset is key, said Maryellen Quinn. She is director of the Office of Protection of Children and Young People for the Diocese of Brooklyn.
Quinn said parents can be reluctant to monitor their children’s digital devices “for fear that they are violating the child’s privacy.”
But Quinn’s message is emphatic: “Be the parent, not their friend!”
Quinn said that boundaries are not mutually exclusive to having a good relationship with a child.
“Let your child know that the rules are for their safety,” she said. “As a parent who pays for the device, you will be reviewing the content, and if they abuse the privilege it will be taken away.
“If you do the hard work now it will pay off in the end.”
Hansen said victims often don’t tell their parents out of shame. Parents, therefore, should impart that children should never hesitate to report dangerous encounters.
“They need a safety valve — the ability to communicate without fear of being punished,” Hansen said. “That’s half the battle right there.”