SMITHFIELD — A free event for parents and youth will be held Monday night, April 29th, at Sky View High School in Smithfield. It’s a serious topic that addresses things that families in the valley have dealt with or may need to deal with in the future.

The event is entitled “Shame Free Conversation – Solutions (for) Sextortion and Suicide” and will be held from 7 p.m. to about 8:15 p.m. 

Speakers will be Terryl Warner, director of Cache County Victim Services, along with keynote speaker North Park Police Chief Kent Goodrich.

On KVNU’s For the People program earlier this week, Youth Council Advisor for Hyde Park City Stephanie Allred talked about how the event came about.

“One of my eighth-grade girls put on her application that she would like to do a suicide awareness event. So, that surprised me and there’s a story behind it, but it kind of grew and grew into this.

“I was talking to the chief (Goodrich) and he was letting me know about this sextortion, also, that is very linked to suicide. So, we decided to combine those two topics, and it’s going to be a fabulous night,” Allred explained.

Chief Goodrich, who was also on the radio program, said the evening will hopefully inform parents about what is going on and, hopefully, open dialogue because it’s a very important discussion to have between a child and a parent.

“Their child posted something online or sent some nude pictures to somebody online (and) they’re afraid to tell their parents, and so they don’t have that conversation. And what we have found, the suicide ideology starts to develop because they are not having the conversations with their parents, with their loved ones. Instead, the kids bear the weight of that extortion on their shoulders and try to handle it themselves,” said Goodrich.

He said they do that by either giving into the demands for money, or for more nude pictures or possible sexual encounters with strangers. Goodrich said predators use many different platforms to reach out to children.

“As we’ve recently seen, we’ve had people from clear across the nation that are soliciting our teen youth here in Cache Valley,” Goodrich added. “It’s happening on their cell phones, it’s happening on the Xboxes and the Playstations. It’s happening on the virtual reality headsets, VR’s. There’s chatrooms that these companies develop and some of them are private, some of them have secret passwords that only the kids know.”

Goodrich cited a recent case involving a firefighter from Pennsylvania who had allegedly been soliciting nude pictures from two North Logan girls. He said, fortunately, they had a very good relationship with their parents and were able to tell their parents, block the individual and let law enforcement know.

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